Chicago - With Valentine's Day fast approaching, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Chicago are diligently working to ensure 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.
Last year in the week prior to Valentines Day's, CBP agriculture specialists in Chicago inspected and processed over one million cut flowers. The top five types of flowers imported into Chicago are Tulips, Roses, Daffodils, Orchids, and Buttercups. The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Moths (Noctuidae), Miner Flies (Agromyzidae), and Thrips (Thripidae). Chicago ranks within the top 10 locations for pest interceptions in the country.
"CBP agriculture specialists do an outstanding job in protecting this country from pest and diseases that could cause significant impact on agriculture in the United States," said David Murphy, CBP Director of Field Operations in Chicago. "I am proud of the CBP agriculture specialists who are working long hours to ensure that the flowers you give to that special someone are pest free."
CBP nationally processed approximately 148.5 million cut flower stems during the 2009 Valentine's season. Most of the cut flower shipments were imported from South America, primarily Colombia and Ecuador.
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. In fiscal year 2009, almost 2,400 CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 1.5 million prohibited plant, meat and animal byproducts and intercepted more than 166,000pests at U.S. ports of entry.
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.