MIAMI— Highly-skilled U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport (MIA) are examining tens of millions of cut flower imports as Mother’s Day approaches. CBP works diligently to ensure flowers are free of insects, pests and diseases that could cause significant harm to the nation’s agricultural and floral industries. The U.S. Mother’s Day observance is Sunday, May 12th.
Miami International Airport ranks first among United States ports of entry for annual shipments of cut flower imports. During Fiscal Year 2018, CBP processed approximately 7.1 billion cut flower stems and Miami alone processed 6.2 billion stems.
While a relatively small number of harmful pests are discovered 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 agriculture specialists in Miami are the front line inspecting cut flower imports to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and plant diseases,” said Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher Maston. “Mother’s Day is a particularly crucial period to prevent hitchhiking pests with a massive influx of cut flower imports.”
Roses, mixed bouquets, chrysanthemums, and rose bouquets are commonly imported flower shipments. The top five countries of origin for commercial flower imports are: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Netherlands and Costa Rica.
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are times when CBP agriculture specialists are especially busy inspecting floral arrangements. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, teams of CBP agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport processed approximately a billion cut flower imports.
For more information and photos on how CBP protects our resources see CBP.gov’s "Protecting Agriculture" section. Download footage of cut flower inspections through the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Florida include travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. For the latest updates from CBP across Florida, add @CBPFlorida on Twitter.