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  4. CBP Making Sure Valentine’s Day Flowers From Mexico Are Pest And Disease Free

CBP Making Sure Valentine’s Day Flowers From Mexico Are Pest And Disease Free

Release Date
Tue, 02/11/2020

EL PASO, Texas – CBP Agriculture Specialists are preparing for an influx of Valentine’s Day travelers and cut flower commercial imports at all the El Paso Field Office ports of entry from Columbus, New Mexico to Presidio, Texas.  Groceries, plants, medications, liquor, pets and other personal purchases made in Mexico need to be declared when returning to the United States.

Agriculture Specialist checking flowers.
Agriculture Specialist checking flowers.

As Valentine’s Day approaches all cut flower imports are carefully inspected by CBP agriculture specialists at all ports of entry.  CBP recommends to individuals who are bringing flower arrangements from Mexico to be aware of prohibited flowers and greenery fillers.

At southern border ports of entry, the most common prohibited flowers and plant foliage are chrysanthemums and choisya (an ornamental foliage filler).  Some others popular fillers are juniper and murraya.  These items are not allowed to enter the U.S. because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease. 

“CBP agriculture specialists are working hard every day preventing potentially harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S.,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “Valentine’s Day week is always one of the busiest periods of the year for CBP agriculture specialists.”

At international ports of entry, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the United States.  At El Paso Field Office area ports, CBP agriculture specialists performing agriculture exams recorded a total of 53,074 quarantine material interceptions and 2,368 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2019.

Agriculture Specialist checking flowers.
Agriculture Specialist checking flowers.

Individuals who are considering 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.  A list of common cut flowers allowed from Mexico is available at the El Paso area ports of entry.

Live plants, seeds, bulbs, and soil are also prohibited entry into the United States.  These type of items require special permits and certificates.  CBP also wants to remind the public that fresh tomatoes and all pepper varieties are now on the prohibited list of fruits and vegetables.  Not declaring or intentionally smuggling prohibited items though the ports of entry are subject to civil penalties starting at $300. 

Last Modified: Feb 26, 2024