San Diego - With Mother's Day celebrations this weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that flower imports are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.
"Travelers need to declare all items acquired in a foreign country to the CBP officer when they cross to the United States," said San Diego Director of Field Operations Chris Maston. "It is an important part of the CBP mission to identify and stop pests and diseases at the border before they can be spread elsewhere."
In advance of this traditionally busy period for floral imports, CBP is reminding border crossers who plan to bring flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery. Prohibited flowers and plant materials are chrysanthemums, gladiolas and choisya and murraya (both ornamental fillers) and are not allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease. Therefore, travelers cannot bring arrangements with chrysanthemums, gladiolas, choisya or murraya from Mexico through the passenger ports of entry.
Roses, carnations, and most other flowers are allowed into the U.S. after they pass inspection. However, plants potted in soil cannot be brought from Mexico. Travelers must declare all flowers and plants to CBP officers.
If a traveler declares a bouquet with prohibited plants, it will be seized, but travelers can avoid possible penalties by ensuring that they declare the items. After a traveler declares a bouquet with no prohibited items, CBP agriculture specialists inspect cut flowers and plants for any sign of insects, pests or diseases.
CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP website "Know Before You Go" section before they travel. They should also declare all items they've acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties. For more information, please visit the "Know Before You Go" Website.
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.