I have traveled to Hawaii and other insular possessions (like Puerto Rico) many times, and a question has occurred to me about the Agriculture inspections conducted upon DEPARTURE.
As you know, upon landing in Hawaii, you fill out an agriculture declaration card to attest to the fact that you are not introducing any dangerous pests into the islands' delicate ecosystem. That part makes total sense.
However, what I don't understand is why there is Agriculture inspection upon departure
from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, etc. If Hawaii has such a fragile and protected ecosystem, why would it matter if you bring an apple back to the mainland? Wouldn't the islands have a much higher standard for pest control relative to the mainland, and thus whatever items you might have would pose no threat?
Another point: if the concern is about taking potentially contaminated produce from the tropics back to the mainland....well, most tropical produce cannot survive or be grown in the mainland anyway except in a few areas like south Florida, Louisiana, etc. (Try to plant a mango pit to grow a tree in Chicago and you won't be too successful!)
Just wondering. Thanks!