Watch Out for Disease Carrying Valentine's Day Flowers from Mexico


LAREDO, Texas — With Valentine’s Day merely two days away, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s proficient agriculture specialists and officers stationed at over 328 ports of entry remain steadfast in their task of meticulously scrutinizing hundreds of millions of incoming cut flower stems. Their objective: to detect and prevent the introduction of plant diseases and pests into the United States, where they pose potential harm.

Across international ports of entry, land borders, and mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists serve as the vanguard against the infiltration of detrimental insects and diseases into the country.

“CBP agriculture specialists at Laredo Field Office ports of entry shoulder a significant responsibility, inspecting millions of cut flower stems and floral arrangements in both passenger and commercial contexts to thwart the ingress of plant pests not native to the U.S.,” remarked Director of Field Operations Donald R. Kusser, of the Laredo Field Office. “These meticulous inspections safeguard American agriculture, the U.S. floral industry, and uphold the economic stability of the nation.”

In South Texas area ports of entry, chrysanthemums and choysia (an ornamental filler) are among the most commonly prohibited flowers and plant materials from entering the U.S. from Mexico. Their exclusion is due to their known association with harmful pests and diseases.

Although the instances of harmful pests discovered among the millions of stems inspected by CBP are relatively low, the potential damage from a single dangerous pest could amount to millions of dollars for the nation’s crops. As of February 7, agriculture specialists nationwide have cleared over one billion cut flower stems, intercepting 1,581 pests, including 877 quarantine-significant pests capable of introducing invasive insects and diseases into the United States, such as Chrysanthemum White Rust, a fungus that poses a threat to flower growers.

Individuals purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for transportation to the U.S. are urged to inform their florist accordingly to avoid the use of prohibited plant species in the arrangement. Additionally, it is essential to declare all agricultural items upon entry. Learn more about declaring agricultural items.

Subscribe to the LIVE! Daily

The LIVE! Daily is the "newspaper to your email" for San Angelo. Each content-packed edition has weather, the popular Top of the Email opinion and rumor mill column, news around the state of Texas, news around west Texas, the latest news stories from San Angelo LIVE!, events, and the most recent obituaries. The bottom of the email contains the most recent rants and comments. The LIVE! daily is emailed 5 days per week. On Sundays, subscribers receive the West Texas Real Estate LIVE! email.


Most Recent Videos

Post a comment to this article here:

X Close