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Trade Notices

CBP ensures pest-free flowers for Valentine’s Day

Agriculture Specialists keep imported flowers free of insects, pests, and diseases

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists are making sure that the bouquet of flowers you order for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day is free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries in the United States.

Whether it’s rare orchids from Thailand or roses from Colombia, it is the job of the CBP agriculture specialist to carefully inspect them before they get to the florist, the grocery store or the sidewalk stand.
CBP agriculture specialists are specially trained in how to inspect cut flowers, plants and fresh herbs for signs of insects, pests or diseases. During the inspection, if an infested shipment is found, a sample of the insect, pest or disease is sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture identifier.

If the sample is “actionable,” that is, not known to exist in the United States, or is an exotic invasive species detrimental to American agriculture, the shipment is ordered for fumigation, destruction, or reexport. If not actionable, the shipment is released to the importer or consignee.

The top three U.S. ports of entry that receive the most imported cut flowers are Miami, Los Angeles and New York. In a single shipment, CBP agriculture specialists working at any of these ports inspect samples representing up to 50 different varieties of cut flowers.

The top three imported cut flowers are roses, carnations and chrysanthemums. In 2005, more than 6,000 actionable insects or pests were intercepted at the port of Miami. The most common insects found were leaf miners, caterpillars and leaf bugs.

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.

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