With Valentine’s Day celebrations approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that flower imports are free from pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.
“We work to protect U.S. agricultural resources from harmful pests, so we thoroughly inspect agricultural products brought across the border,” said Anne Maricich, acting CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego, which oversees the ports in Imperial County. “We want travelers to know ahead of time what they can and cannot bring into the country so there are no surprises at the port of entry.”
Chrysanthemums from Mexico are prohibited through the passenger ports of entry. Travelers cannot bring floral arrangements with these flowers into the country. With the current restrictions, CBP is trying to prevent fungi, such as “Chrysanthemum White Rust” from entering the United States.
Additionally, some cut greenery, which are the plants used to fill a bouquet, may have pests or diseases. For example, murraya (common name “orange jasmine”) is a host for Asian citrus psyllid, a dangerous pest of citrus. If any portion of a bouquet has pests, the entire bouquet will be confiscated.
Roses, carnations, and many other flowers are allowed into the United States after they pass inspection. However, plants potted in soil cannot be brought from Mexico. Travelers must declare all flowers and plants to CBP officers and/or agriculture specialists.
If the bouquet a traveler declares has prohibited flowers and greenery, it will be seized; but, travelers can avoid possible penalties by ensuring that they declare the bouquet. If the bouquet has no prohibited items, CBP agriculture specialists will inspect the cut flowers and greenery for pests and diseases. Absent any pests or diseases, the traveler will be allowed to keep the bouquet.