NTEU Members Help Make Valentine’s Day Beautiful—and Safe

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists around the country are ensuring the flowers we send to loved ones are not just thoughtful, but safe for the nation.

Hundreds of millions of cut flowers are shipped into the U.S. for Valentine’s Day, making it the second busiest time for cut flower imports (Mother’s Day ranks first!). Flowers that top the list include mixed bouquets, roses, chrysanthemums and dianthus.

Before these flowers can reach your loved ones, NTEU-represented Agriculture Specialists inspect them to ensure they are free from pests or diseases that could cause irreparable damage to the environment. Last month, highly-skilled Agriculture Specialists inspected more than 496 million cut flowers, intercepting 542 pests. Those shipments were treated, re-exported or destroyed, depending on the severity of the infestation.

Along with flowers, chocolates are a popular Valentine’s Day gift, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees are on the job making sure your holiday isn’t ruined by an allergic reaction. The agency is charged with ensuring that the ingredients on your chocolate’s label reflect what’s actually inside. Allergens contained in a food product but not named on the label are a leading cause of FDA requests for food recalls, and undeclared milk is the most frequently cited allergen. According to the FDA, chocolates are one of the most common sources of undeclared milk associated with consumer reactions.

NTEU is proud to represent employees at CBP and FDA who work year-round to keep our country safe and healthy.