Tucson, Ariz. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Arizona’s ports of entry are busy this week making sure that personal and commercial importations of Mother’s Day flowers are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm U.S. agricultural and floral industries.
“Mother’s Day is another time of year when our CBP agriculture specialists see an increase in floral imports,” said Tracy Filippi, agriculture specialist and program manager for the Tucson Field Office. “We strongly encourage the public to consult the CBP website before importing floral arrangements so they know which flowers are allowed and which are prohibited or restricted.”
CBP suggests those who plan to import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery. Some prohibited flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements include gladiolas, chrysanthemums and choysia (a floral filler), due to pest risk.
“While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP,” explained Filippi, “a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars in damage to our nation’s crops.”
Consult the “CBP Info Center” section on the CBP website before traveling with plants.
Travelers should also declare all items acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties.
Traditionally, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the Easter holiday weekend are times when CBP agriculture specialists are busiest inspecting floral arrangements. At international ports of entry, land borders, and international mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of insects, pests and diseases into the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.