CBP Agriculture Experts Ensure Valentine’s Day Flowers Are Disease-Free
Washington – As Valentine’s Day approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural experts across the country are preparing for Love Day by inspecting cut flowers shipped from overseas.
Agricultural Specialists Assigned to CBP Miami
Check a batch of cut flowers.
Hundreds of millions of cut flowers are shipped to the U.S. each year on Valentine’s Day, the second-busiest time for the country’s cut flower imports, the first being Mother’s Day.
Flower Imports Steady During COVID-19 Pandemic In January 2021, CBP agricultural experts processed more than 496 million cut flowers and intercepted 542 pest species. This is a slight increase from the same period in 2020, when more than 453 million cut flowers were shipped and 542 pests were intercepted.
“Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP agricultural experts have done an excellent job of ensuring that all high-risk commodities, including cut flowers, are inspected for invasive pests to protect our country from environmental threats,” Kevin said Kevin C. Harriger, executive director of Agricultural Programs and Trade Liaison.
CBP agricultural experts in Miami examine a
Flowers imported from South America.
The top imported flowers are mixed bouquets, roses, chrysanthemums, dianthus, and rose bouquets. Before the flowers reach their intended recipients, CBP agricultural experts must inspect them to make sure they are free of pests or diseases, including noctuidae and aphids, commonly known as owl moths and aphids, if they could cause irreparable damage to the environment if allowed into the country. If such pests are detected, the consignment must be disposed of, re-exported or destroyed depending on the severity of the infestation.
Cut flowers are usually imported in large quantities, mainly from South American, European, Asian and African countries. The largest exporters are Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, the Netherlands and Costa Rica. Most of these shipments were sent to ports in Miami, Otai Mesa and San Diego.
CBP’s trained agricultural experts are on the front lines of protecting America’s agricultural resources. In fiscal 2020, CBP agricultural experts across the country conducted more than 750,000 inspections of imported agricultural or agriculture-related commodities that produced nearly 60,000 pests that could be harmful to U.S. agriculture and the environment.
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