Laredo, Texas - With the Mother's Day holiday approaching this weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would like to remind the traveling public that certain agricultural items used in floral displays are prohibited from entry to the U.S. These items can carry the citrus greening disease, which if allowed to establish itself further can be devastating to America's citrus industry.
One common type of ornamental greenery known as murraya or orange jasmine is sometimes used in the construction of floral displays. Murraya is a host plant for the Asian Citrus Psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, an insect that can carry the citrus greening disease, and it is therefore prohibited from entry into the U.S.
Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing, is a disease caused by a bacterium that can infect most citrus varieties and some ornamental plants (such as orange jasmine) and was first detected in the U.S. in 2005 in Miami-Dade County, Fla. According to the USDA, the disease has seriously affected citrus production in India, Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.
Travelers entering the U.S. should not bring orange jasmine or other prohibited citrus fruits and plants from Mexico or any foreign country into the U.S. Prohibited citrus includes the following: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sour oranges and sweet limes. Other popular non-citrus fruits that also are prohibited include guavas, mangoes, peaches and pomegranates. Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items also can result in fines. Penalties for personal importations of undeclared, prohibited agricultural items, depending on the severity of the violation, can run as high as $1,000 and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.
In addition to the aforementioned agricultural items prohibited due to citrus greening and in light of the upcoming Mother's Day holiday, CBP and USDA would like to advise travelers that other flowers and greenery are also prohibited from entry including gladiolas, chrysanthemums, pine and choysia. These plants and greenery can carry diseases that could adversely affect U.S. flower production. In addition, plants for propagation from Mexico are either prohibited or restricted.
The traveling public can learn more about prohibited fruits, vegetables, plant and animal products and other prohibited items by consulting the "Know Before You Go" guide or the list of top 10 travelers tips at the following link: Know Before You Go.
For more detailed information on Huanglongbing or Citrus Greening disease, the public can consult the following link on the USDA/APHIS website:
"With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, we would like to remind the traveling public not to bring in these specific plants, fruits and greenery that can harbor pests and plant diseases that could have a disastrous impact on our floral and citrus industries," said Leticia Moran, Director, CBP Field Operations, Laredo Field Office.
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.