US: Customs busy with Valentine's Day flowers

Valentine's Day is around the corner (this Friday) and for the agricultural specialists at the border security it means busy times inspecting the flowers - this to intercept any potentially harmful foreign diseases from coming into the country. The majority of the imported flowers, around 90%, comes through Miami International Airport (MIA), and during this time of the year, customs officials, with specialists are surveying millions of cut flowers, WSVN reports.

Also at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, US Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists are working hard checking the flowers, reports Channel 2 action News reports when visiting the airport last Tuesday. While the vast majority of flowers entering the country are safe, even one hitchhiking pest or plant disease can cause significant damage to American agriculture. So, what happens if pests or diseases are found? Then, shipments will be may be treated and released, re-exported, or destroyed. Examples of past interceptions found by agriculture specialists include species of Noctuidae and Aphididae, commonly known as the Owlet Moth and aphids respectively. 

The majority of the flowers entering the US come from Colombia, Ecuador and the Netherlands. But flowers from all countries are being inspected at all ports of entry, also from Mexico. In an article published on El Paso Herald Post, CBP recommends to individuals who are bringing flower arrangements from Mexico to be aware of prohibited flowers and green fillers. "At southern border ports of entry, the most common prohibited flowers and plant foliage are chrysanthemums and choisya (an ornamental foliage filler). Some others popular fillers are juniper and murraya. These items are not allowed to enter the U.S. because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease." At El Paso Field Office area ports, CBP agriculture specialists performing agriculture exams recorded a total of 53,074 quarantine material interceptions and 2,368 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2019. Click here to read the complete article on




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