With Mother’s Day fast approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in South Texas is keeping an eye on flowers and plants crossing the border.
Why? The agency wants to ensure that any foliage brought into the country for the Hallmark holiday is pesticide and disease-free.
Mother’s Day is traditionally a busy period for floral imports and the agency is calling on people who plan to cross the border to purchase flowers or those who are looking to purchase imported flowers from Mexico to be aware that some plants are prohibited from coming into the United States — such as gladiolas, chrysanthemums and choysia — due to risk of pests.
“As some travelers head to Mexico to purchase flower arrangements for Mother’s Day, to avoid any potential fines or other disappointment we would like to advise the public to consult the CBP website before they make their trip so they will be better informed regarding which flowers are permissible and which are restricted,” Noel Sanchez, acting director of field operations in the Laredo Field Office, said in a statement.
CBP agriculture specialists are currently at South Texas ports of entry inspecting the flowers and plants entering the country from Mexico. According to an agency release, “a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.”
“They should also declare all items they’ve acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties,” CBP further advises.
The agency notes that Easter and Valentine’s Day are agriculture specialists’ other busy periods.