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CBP Ensures Pest-free Flowers for Valentine’s Day

Release Date: 
February 8, 2018

LAREDO, Texas – As Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s highly skilled agriculture specialists continue to dutifully examine hundreds of millions of arriving cut flower stems to 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.

“The sheer volume of cut flower stems that arrive at Laredo Field Office ports of entry is among the top five in the nation and this underscores the vital role our agriculture specialists play in detecting and intercepting invasive plant pests. If allowed to enter, these pests could wreak significant ecological and financial harm on the American floral industry,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office.

A CBP agriculture specailist conduct an examination of a cut flower shipment at  a Laredo FIeld Office port of entry
A CBP agriculture specialist examines a cut
flower shipment at a cold storage facility at a
Laredo Field Office port of entry.

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

Individuals purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for transport to the U.S. should advise their florist accordingly so prohibited plant species will not be used in the arrangement. And as a reminder, all agricultural items should be declared upon entry. For more information regarding bringing agricultural items, consult this link.

CBP at Laredo Field Office ports of entry processed 11.4 million cut flower stems during the 2017 Valentine’s season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 and is the fifth largest field location by volume for cut flower importations nationwide.

B-roll footage of CBP cut flower inspections at a South Texas port may be found here.

Last modified: 
February 8, 2018