U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at El Paso area ports of entry are busy this week inspecting cut flower shipments to make sure that personal and commercial importations of Mother’s Day flowers are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.
The U.S observance of Mother’s Day is May 8 and in Mexico it is May 10.
“Our ever-vigilant CBP agriculture specialists are carefully inspecting all floral shipments to be certain that they are free from insects, pests or disease,” said CBP El Paso Director Field Operations Hector A. Mancha. “To avoid unnecessary delays or fines, we encourage travelers to declare all floral arrangements, therefore facilitating the delivery of flowers in time for Mother’s Day.”
CBP suggests those who plan to import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for the U.S. Some flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements at southwest border ports of entry are prohibited. Those include chrysanthemums and choisya ternata (a floral filler) due to pest risk.
While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops. CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP Info Center section on the CBP website before they travel or call (877) 227-5511.
Travelers should also declare all items acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pest and disease to the United States. CBP now offers the CBP One mobile app, which allows travelers to request a variety of CBP services, including inspection of commercial shipments of agricultural products. The CBP One app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day, the Easter holiday, and Mother’s Day weekend are the busiest times of the year for CBP agriculture specialists. CBP agriculture specialists are the last line in the fight against the introduction of insects, pests, and diseases into the United States.