U.S. border agency warns against importation of citrus and fruit

Día de los Muertos celebration (and Asian citrus psyllid) prompt advisory

Friday, November 1, is Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents), honoring deceased children, and Saturday, November 2, marks the annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrating the lives of deceased family members and notable community members.

As part of the holiday, many families construct altars honoring loved ones, and greenery such as orange jasmine or other fragrant citrus-family plantlife is often included. According to officials, however, these plants are known to host the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that carries citrus greening disease, which can devastate citrus crops and has already been detected in Florida.

"Among the actions U.S.-Mexico border residents can take is to remember not to bring any orange jasmine or other prohibited citrus fruits and plants from Mexico into the U.S.," says CBP director of field operations for San Diego Pete Flores. "We also want to remind travelers that they are prohibited, so there are no surprises at the border."

Officers at border crossings throughout the region will be looking for prohibited greenery and fruits, including oranges, sour oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sweet limes, guava, mangoes, peaches, and pomegranates. Fines for being caught with produce or plants banned from crossing into the U.S. can reach $1000 for individuals or $250,000 for commercial operators, authorities warn.

(corrected 10/30, 1:15 p.m.)

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