MIAMI – Throughout the five-week government shutdown, one essential government service continued at Miami International Airport: checking for exotic bugs in bunches of roses destined for Valentine’s Day bouquets.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors kept up their round-the-clock inspections without pay just as the pre-holiday rush of flower imports started to peak.
About 90 percent of cut flowers imported into the U.S. every year come through the Miami airport. Border Protection agriculture specialists check those goods by hand, stem by stem, for stowaways that could threaten U.S. crops.
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