SAN DIEGO - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists 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 the agricultural and floral industries of the United States. Mother’s Day observance is Sunday in the U.S. whereas in Mexico, it will be celebrated May 10.
“Our agriculture specialists are vigilant every day of the year to protect the U.S. agriculture industry, but for Mother’s Day, we see an increase in the number of flowers being brought in,” said Pete Flores, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “We remind travelers that they must declare all flowers being brought into the U.S.”
CBP strongly encourages the public to consult the CBP website before they import floral arrangements so they know which flowers are permissible 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 flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements at southwest border ports of entry are prohibited. Those include gladiolas and chrysanthemums as well as murraya (commonly known as orange jasmine) and choysia (both floral fillers) due to pest risk. Travelers are also prohibited from bringing potted plants with soil.
While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.
CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP Info Center section on the CBP website before they travel.
They should also declare all items they’ve acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pest and disease to the U.S.
Traditionally, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the Easter holiday weekend are times when CBP agriculture specialists are very busy 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.