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Los Angeles CBP Ensures Valentine’s Day Flowers are Pest and Disease Free

Release Date: 
February 14, 2018

Millions of Imported Flower Stems Arriving at LAX

VIDEO: CBP Agriculture Specialists Inspecting Flowers 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.
CBP agriculture specialists look for
microscopic hitch hikers that hide in
the foliage, leaves and petals.

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. Los Angeles ranked second in the nation among U.S. ports of entry for the number of cut flower shipments during this season. Miami ranked first with more than 957 million flower stems.

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.

Last modified: 
February 14, 2018