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CBP In El Paso Ensures Valentine’s Day Flowers Are Pest-Free

Release Date: 
February 10, 2015

EL PASO, Texas – In the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s highly trained agriculture specialists ensure that plant diseases and plant pests are detected and stopped from being introduced into the United States where they could cause harm.

At international ports of entry, land borders and mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the United States.  El Paso area CBP agriculture specialists performing agriculture exams recorded a total of 50,310 quarantine material interceptions and 3,751 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2014.

CBP agriculture specialists exam a shipment of cut flowers at the El paso port of entry in 2014

CBP agriculture specialists exam a shipment of cut flowers at the El paso port of entry in 2014.

“CBP agriculture specialists prevent potentially harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S. every day,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “The work they do is important.”

At El Paso area ports of entry, the most commonly prohibited flowers and plant materials are chrysanthemums, gladiolas, and choisya (an ornamental filler).  These items are not allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease.

Individuals purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for transport to the U.S. should advise their florist so prohibited plant species will not be used in the arrangement.

CBP processed approximately 801 million cut flower stems during the 2014 Valentine’s season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14. Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 506 million stems followed by Ecuador with 184 million stems. Mexico was third with 43 million stems in 2014. Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles, Otay Mesa and then Laredo. El Paso did not rank in the top 10 ports for imports.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017