CBP Inspects Imported Valentine's Flowers for Harmful Pests
Miami - With Valentine's Day just around the corner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that flower imports used in Valentine's Day bouquets are free from insects and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.
Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles. The quantity of imported cut flowers processed by both ports during the 2010 Valentine's season has more than doubled compared to the 2009 season.
Last year during Valentine's season, from January 1 to February 14:
- CBP processed approximately 320.8 million cut flower stems, compared to 148.5 million stems processed during the 2009 season (45 per cent increase). Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia (211.9 million stems or 66 percent) followed by Ecuador (70.5 million stems or 33 percent).
- Of the 211.9 million cut flower stems imported from Colombia, approximately 198 million (93 percent) were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are Roses, mixed bouquets, and Dianthus.
- CBP at the Miami port of entry processed approximately 272 million stems (or 85 percent) of the total imported flowers stems nationally, compared to 7.5 million flower stems at the port of entry in Los Angeles and 4 million stems at JFK in New York.
- Miami intercepted 2,329 plant pests in these shipments of imported flowers that could be detrimental to American agriculture, followed by New York with 277 intercepted pests.
- The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Moths (Noctuidae), Miner Flies (Agromyzidae), Aphididae (Aphids) and Thrips (Thripidae).
The top 10 ports of entry, by volume (number of stems) that processed shipments of cut flower imports for the 2010 Valentine's Day season are:
Jan. 1-Feb. 14, 2010
|Location||Quantity in Stems|
|Otay Mesa, Calif.||6,730,563|
|San Juan, P.R.||1,159,129|
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.