EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists are preparing for an influx of Valentine’s Day travelers and cut flower commercial imports at all the El Paso Field Office ports of entry.
As Valentine’s Day approaches all cut flower imports are carefully inspected by CBP agriculture specialists at all ports of entry.
“CBP agriculture specialists are working hard every day preventing potentially harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S.,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “Valentine’s Day week is always one of the busiest periods of the year for CBP agriculture specialists.”
The CBP wants to remind the public that all groceries, plants, medications, liquor, pets and other personal purchases made in Mexico need to be declared when returning to the United States.
According to a release, the most common prohibited flowers and plant foliages are chrysanthemums and choisya (an ornamental foliage filler). These items are not allowed to enter the U.S. because they are known to harbor harmful pests and diseases.
Live plants, seeds, bulbs, and soil are also prohibited entry into the United States; these require special permits and certificates.
Individuals who are considering purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for transport to the U.S. should advise their florist so prohibited plant species will not be used in the arrangement, says CBP.
Not declaring or intentionally smuggling prohibited items through the ports of entry are subject to civil penalties starting at $300.