Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) prepared for Valentine’s Day during this season (Jan 1-Feb. 14) by processing over 37 million flower stems and intercepting 372 pests.
And Los Angeles didn’t process as many as Miami. In fact, they weren’t even a close second.
Miami easily stands at the top as the U.S. port of entry processing the most cut flower shipments during this season. Miami topped last Valentine’s Day season with more than 875 million flower stems. That is almost nine out of every ten flowers pass through Miami.
Nevertheless, while that is a lot of flowers passing through inspection for pests and diseases, CBP says that Mother’s Day has historically beat out Valentine’s Day for flower importation.
What happens if pests or diseases are found? That shipment is intercepted and treated, exported or destroyed.
CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense against pests and diseases that could harm the U.S. agriculture industry. These pests can seriously damage America’s crops, livestock and the environment. — Mitchell Merriam, CBP Acting Port Director of Los Angeles International Airport
CBP’s Valentine’s Day Numbers:
– In 2015, 976 million cut flower stems were processed compared to 801 million stems during the 2014 season, an increase of 21 percent.
– Nationwide, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide intercepted 2,870 pests in 2015.
– The top three types of flower shipments: roses, mixed bouquets and rose bouquets.
– The top three countries of origin: Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.
– 87% of flowers imported into the U.S. go through Miami.
– The cut flower business is estimated to be worth 7.5 billion dollars.
– CBP has more than 2,300 CBP Agriculture Specialists.
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