El Paso, Texas - With Mother's Day celebrations on the calendar in the days ahead, 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.
"CBP agriculture specialists will be inspecting cut flowers and plants for any sign of insects, pests or diseases," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations in El Paso. "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 import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery. Some plants commonly found in floral arrangements are prohibited including gladiolas, chrysanthemums and choisya (a green citrus like floral filler).
CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP Web sites "Know Before You Go" section on CBP Web site before they travel. They should also declare all items they've acquired abroad to CBP Officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties.
Along with 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.