LAREDO, TEXAS—With Mother's Day celebrations looming this weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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.
"CBP agriculture specialists will be inspecting cut flowers, plants and fresh herbs for any sign of insects, pests or diseases," said Eugenio Garza Jr., director, field operations, Laredo Field Office. "We strongly encourage the public to consult the CBP website before they make their trip so they know which flowers are permissible and which are prohibited or restricted."
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 CBP Info Center section on the CBP website before they travel. Learn about cut flower importations at the Info Center Site: Flowers - Bring flowers into the United States.
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 weekends 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.