LAX Sign. Photo by John Schreiber.
LAX Sign. Photo by John Schreiber.

Agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport will again serve as “the first line of defense against pests and diseases that could harm the U.S. agriculture industry,” a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official pledged Sunday

The specialists will be inspecting cut flower shipments arriving from overseas, mostly South America, for Valentine’s Day, the second busiest time of the year for cut flower importations, behind Mother’s Day, according to Mitchell Merriam, Customs and Border Protection’s acting port director of Los Angeles International Airport.

If pests or diseases are intercepted, the shipments are treated, re- exported or destroyed, Merriam said.

Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport processed more than 37 million flower stems between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14, 2015, and intercepted 372 pests, Merriam said.

Los Angeles ranked second in the nation among U.S. ports of entry for the number of cut flower shipments during the Valentine’s Day, behind Miami, where agriculture specialists processed more than 875 million flower stems, Merriam said.

–City News Service

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