Did you know that USDA helps in bringing Valentine’s Day cheer every year? With the help of Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, USDA’s Animal and Plant health Inspection Service (APHIS) safely imports millions of cut flowers into the US free from harmful plant pests and diseases from Jan 1 to Feb 14th in preparation for the Valentine’s Season.
During the 2010 Valentine’s Season, Miami was the top port of entry for processing cut flowers, with approximately 272 million stems, or 85 percent of the total number of imported cut flowers nationally. This number is more than double the number of cut flowers processed at the Miami port of entry during the 2009 Valentine’s season.
If a CBP agricultural specialist or officer finds harmful plant pests or diseases on any cut flowers seeking entry into the US for the Valentine’s season or, otherwise, do not meet import requirements, they are denied entry.
The cut flowers inspection process in 2010 resulted in a total of 3,054 pest interceptions nationwide, with 2,329 of those interceptions occurring at Miami’s port of entry.
USDA is proud to be a part of facilitating yearly Valentine’s Day celebrations by safely bringing in flowers for all to enjoy while dedicating itself to protecting American agriculture.