cop and flowersEvery year around Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day and Easter), the CBSA is extra busy inspecting shipments of flowers from Colombia and Ecuador.  Shipments of flowers into Canada are most commonly shipped by air or transported from the United States after importation through Miami.

The two things the CBSA is looking for in fresh cut flower shipments are drugs and bugs. Historically, cut flower shipments were used as a hiding place by South American drug smugglers.  As a result, the CBSA continues to monitor flower shipments closely.  The drugs are no just hidden is solid form under the flowers, liquid or solid drugs have been injected into the flowers themselves.

Importantly, the CBSA agriculture specialists look for bugs and pests that can damage Canada’s ecosystem and which might bring diseases into the homes of Canadians. The most common type of plant pests intercepted in cut flower imports are Noctuidae (Moths), Aphididae (Aphids), Frankliniella sp. (Thrips), and Tetranychus sp. (Mites).

Canadian importers of flowers must be very careful to buy from reputable sources.  The CBSA will seize and destroy shipments of flowers if they find a bug/pest.  As a result, the flower importer may lose the money paid to the exporter and not have product to sell during lucrative periods, such as Valentine’s Day.

Canadian importers of flowers must also be careful to purchase flowers from companies that have a secure supply chain.  The importer is usually the importer of record for customs purposes.  Therefore, the importer is the party who may be charged if the shipment includes drugs.  The CBSA may seize the drugs or the CBSA may allow the flowers to be delivered under a controlled shipment so that the evidence can be gathered for a successful prosecution.

So remember:

Roses are Red,

Roses are White,

If the CBSA finds bugs,

Something ain’t right.

Roses are Pink,

Roses are Blue,

If you import drugs,

The CBSA will take them from you.