Houston — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists are examining flower imports for harmful pests and diseases before those shipments arrive to stores and are purchased as Valentine’s Day bouquets.
“Our agriculture specialists are specially trained in entomology, botany, and other scientific fields,” said CBP Houston Service Port Director Beverly Good. “Their careful attention to detail allows them to identify even microscopic pests and plant disease preventing their introduction and potential devastation to the nation’s agriculture.”
Insects, diseases, and arthropods found in cut flowers from foreign countries often have a wide range of host plants, which are serious threats to the U.S. agriculture crops and native ecosystems.
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.
During fiscal year 2013, CBP agriculture specialists conducted 1.6 million interceptions of plant materials, meat, and animal byproducts at ports of entry while also stopping more than 160,000 potentially dangerous pests.
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.