Millions of Imported Flower Stems Arriving at LAX
LOS ANGELES—In the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists work long hours inspecting millions of flower stems arriving from South America and Europe to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
CBP agriculture specialists look for microscopic hitch hikers that hide in the foliage, leafs and petals. Their scientific knowledge of insects and plant diseases allow them to identify threats to our vital agriculture resources. If pests or diseases are intercepted, the shipments are treated, re-exported or destroyed.
“CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense against pests and diseases that could harm the U.S. agriculture industry. These pests can seriously damage America’s crops, livestock and the environment,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
Last year during this season (Jan 1-Feb. 14), CBP agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport processed over 41 million flower stems and intercepted 411 pests.
During the 2017 Valentine’s Day season, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide intercepted 1,916 pests. In the same period, approximately one billion cut flower stems were processed compared to 940 million stems during the 2016 season, an increase of 6 percent.
The top three types of flower shipments in the U.S. during the Valentine’s season last year were roses, mixed bouquets and rose bouquets. The top three countries of origin were: Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.
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.