LAREDO, Texas – With Mother’s Day celebrations coming up this weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at South Texas ports of entry are busy making sure that personal and commercial importations of flowers are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.
“As some travelers head to Mexico to purchase flower arrangements for Mother’s Day, to avoid any potential fines or other disappointment we would like to advise the public to consult the CBP website before they make their trip so they will be better informed regarding which flowers are permissible and which are restricted,” said Noel Sanchez, Acting Director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office.
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.
In advance of this traditionally busy period for floral imports, CBP is reminding border crossers 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 are prohibited, including gladiolas, chrysanthemums and choysia (a green citrus-like floral filler) due to pest risk.
CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the Flowers - Bring flowers into the United States page on the CBP Info Center section of 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.
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.