Los Angeles - Mother's day is approaching and CBP agriculture specialists are inundated with flower inspections. Did you know that imported cut flowers are carefully inspected by specialized personnel to prevent pests and diseases from entering the United States?
Each year millions of flowers are imported from all over the world. Imports vary from exotic flowers from New Zealand, extravagant orchids from Thailand to beautiful roses from Columbia and Ecuador. The beauty of the flowers do not deceive CBP agriculture specialists, they know that they may carry dangerous pests and diseases capable of causing serious damage to agriculture products.
California produces nearly half of U.S. grown fruits, nuts and vegetables and it is the nation's number one agriculture producer and exporter. Every year, Los Angeles International Airport is in the top three in the number of flower imports in the Nation. CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense against exotic pests, invasive species and diseases capable of causing serious damage to California's agriculture industry.
"Our agriculture specialists take their job very seriously and continue to prevent harmful diseases and plant pests from being introduced into the U.S.," said Carlos C. Martel, area port director, Los Angeles International Airport.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2009, CBP agriculture specialists seized 4,291 prohibited meat or plant materials, including 454 agricultural pests that could potentially harm America's agricultural resources. Last year, 166,727 pests were intercepted at 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.