Mother's Day means more plant inspections

Posted at 2:32 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 20:07:51-04

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists were busy this week making sure that personal and commercial imports of Mother's Day flowers are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States, according to authorities.

Mother's Day is Sunday in the U.S. In Mexico, it will be celebrated on Tuesday.

"Our agriculture specialists are vigilant every day of the year to protect the U.S. agriculture industry, but for Mother's Day, we see an increase in the number of flowers being brought in," Pete Flores, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego, said in a statement. "We remind travelers that they must declare all flowers being brought into the U.S."

Those bringing flowers to the U.S. from Mexico were urged to consult the CBP website so they know which flowers are permissible and which are prohibited or restricted.

Some flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements at southwest border ports of entry are prohibited. Those include gladiolas and chrysanthemums as well as orange jasmine and choysia due to pest risk. Travelers are also prohibited from bringing potted plants with soil.

While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation's crops, according to the CBP.

Traditionally, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and the Easter holiday weekend are times when CBP agriculture specialists are especially busy inspecting floral arrangements.