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Houston CBP Ensures Flowers are Safe For Valentine's Season

Release Date: 
February 8, 2011

Houston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists have been working diligently examining flower shipments being imported for Valentine's Day.

Their job is to ensure that the flowers coming into the United States are pest and disease free, so that consumers may enjoy their floral bouquets and arrangements.

CBP agriculture specialist examines imported flowers for pests and diseases.

CBP agriculture specialist examines imported flowers for pests and diseases.

Insects and diseases found in cut flowers arriving from foreign countries can be a serious threat to U.S. agriculture and our ecosystem.

"The careful attention to detail that our agriculture specialists put into each examination enables them to identify even the smallest pests," said CBP Service Port Director Terry Estell. "They are enthusiastic about our mission to safeguard the United States from dangerous pests and plant diseases."

CBP processed approximately 320.8 million cut flowers during the 2010 Valentine's season, which runs from January 1 to February 14. The majority of cut flower shipments are imported from South America, mainly Colombia, with 211.9 million stems or 66 percent, followed by Ecuador with 70.5 million stems or 33 percent.

Flower shipments found to contain potential pests are held and safeguarded by CBP until a USDA entomologist or pathologist makes an official determination. If it is determined that a shipment has a pest of concern, the importer will be given the option of re-exporting the shipment, chemical treatment (when/if available and applicable), or destruction of the commodity.

Whether at a land border, seaport, airport or mail facility, agriculture specialists are America's frontline against harmful pests and diseases that have the potential to devastate our agricultural economy.

Media Note: Media are invited to interview CBP agriculture specialists as they examine flower imports February 10 at 9:30 a.m. Media wishing to participate must contact Alicia Tellez, Public Affairs Liaison, at (713) 806-8361 to facilitate coverage.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017