Tucson, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Arizona’s ports of entry are busy this week making sure that 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. Mother’s Day observance is this Sunday, May 13th.
“The Mother’s Day period is a time when our CBP agriculture specialists see an increase in the number of floral arrangements arriving at local area ports,” said Tracy Filippi, Supervisory Agriculture Program Manager for the Tucson Field Office. “CBP agriculture specialists work constantly to ensure that the flowers or plants they will see are free from insects, pests and/or disease.”
CBP strongly encourages the public to consult the CBP website before they import floral arrangements so they know which flowers are permissible and which are prohibited or restricted. CBP suggests those who plan to import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise their florist that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery. Some flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements at southwest border ports of entry are prohibited. Those include chrysanthemums and choysia (and other greenery fillers) 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.
They 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 U.S.
Traditionally, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the Easter holiday weekend are times when CBP agriculture specialists are very busy inspecting floral arrangements. At international ports of entry, land borders, and international mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of insects, pests and diseases into the United States.