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US: Customs will inspect 1 billion flowers imported for Valentine's Day

Customs and Border Protection officials are expecting to process and inspect more than 1 billion imported stems of flowers in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day next Wednesday, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson confirmed Friday.

Although the DHS agency is often associated with apprehending illegal immigrants and narcotics on land and sea, its Miami branch is known as the headquarters for floral importation inspections between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14 every year.

CBP officers at the Miami facility processed more than 954 million stems of flowers in 2017 and intercepted more than 1,000 plant pests. Exotic pests and foreign animal diseases cost an average of $138 billion in economic and environmental losses every year.

CBP in Los Angeles processed the second-highest amount of stems at 40 million; followed by Otay Mesa, Calif., at 25 million; and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, which saw 19 million stems of flowers.

Read more at the Washington Examiner (Anna Giaritelli)

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