One billion – that’s the number of stems of flowers, mostly roses, being inspected by Customs and Border Patrol officials during the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day at Miami International Airport.
For those in charge of the process, they’re looking closely for bugs and plant diseases that could bring on a detrimental economic impact to the industry.
”Some of these flowers may carry hitch-hiking pests and diseases that cause millions of dollars in damage to the flower industry and beyond,” said acting port director Robert Del Toro.
The task of inspecting every flower that comes through is especially important given 90 percent of all flowers that come into the United States comes through this airport.
Officals said the holiday brings the second highest volume of flowers from Colombia, Ecuador, the Netherlands and Costa Rica behind Mother’s Day.
Flowers that don’t pass inspection are either fumigated, returned to their country of origin or discarded depending on the disease they carry.