With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ramping up its inspection of flowers crossing into the United States.
CBP is reminding travelers that all cut flowers and plants must be declared and inspected before they can be brought across the U.S.-Mexico Border.
During an inspection, flowers will be carefully shaken to see if any harmful pests, like moths or aphids, fall out. Agricultural inspectors will also examine the leaves for any diseases.
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CBP Agricultural Operations Manager Leslie Gomez-Montez said the goal is to keep these things from infesting our crops here in San Diego.
"A lot of these plant pests and even the plant diseases affect the marketability of the plant products that we grow here in the United States. and specifically here in San Diego County, where nursery stock and cut flowers are a huge part of our local agricultural economy," said Gomez-Montez.
Gomez-Montez said Chrysanthemums are not allowed across the border into the U.S. under any circumstances, because they can carry a serious fungal disease known as Chrysanthemum white rust.
However, she said most other cut flowers are allowed, as long as they pass inspection.
So far this year, CBP has inspected 18 million cut flowers.