More than 21 million stems are processed through the U.S.- Mexico border south of San Diego each year, making it the third busiest port of entry for cut flowers after Miami and Los Angeles.
If a bouquet of flowers is on your Valentine’s Day shopping list, chances are those flowers were shipped from Mexico.
Agriculture imports go through the Otay Mesa Commercial Inspection Facility.
On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees were seeing an influx in flowers in anticipation for the upcoming holiday.
The entire inspection process takes about an hour from the unloading of the truck to an inspection of each flower bunch.
Agriculture specialists are looking for certain pests and diseases on flowers.
Out of millions of flowers, officials say there are very few instances where pests are found.
Good communication with importers on what is required helps avoid any unwanted insects from being shipped into the U.S.
The inspection cost is put on the producer of the flowers...before the flowers are brought into our stores, officials said.