As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “diligently” inspecting shipments of imported cut flowers to prevent the spread of insects or pests that may damage national and local agriculture, the agency said Tuesday.
“Agriculture inspections are a crucial part of the inspection process for items entering into the country,” said Keith McFarquhar, acting director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “A single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.”
During the 2016 Valentine’s Season, which ran from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, 2016, CBP San Juan Field Operations inspected 3.7 million stems of cut flowers imported from various destinations around the world.
This volume puts the San Juan Field Office among the top 10 in the United States in volume of imported cut flowers. Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 636 million stems, followed by Ecuador with 198 million stems.
Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles. The San Juan Field Office ranked 9th nationwide with the greatest number of flower shipments received in 2016.
The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in a total of 2441 pest interceptions nationally, with the majority of pest intercepted at Miami ports. The Aguadilla port ranks 3rd among the ports with more pest interceptions, with 181 pests intercepted, 82 of which were determined to be “actionable pests”. At the San Juan Airport, 27 pests were intercepted, placing that port 8th among ports with more pest interceptions nationwide.