The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding observers of All Souls Day that some agricultural items used in holiday decorations are prohibited in the U.S. due to pest and plant diseases, including huanglongbing (HLB).
Floral arrangements used in altars (altares) to commemorate the lives of dead loved ones commonly include orange jasmine, which is a host plant for the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads HLB, according to a CPB news release. Because of this, orange jasmine, also known as murraya is banned from entry into the U.S.
All Souls Day — Dia de los Muertos — is Nov. 2.
“CBP strongly encourages those who purchase floral arrangements in Mexico for altares at home for All Soul’s Day to be mindful that there are certain flowers, greenery and fruits that are prohibited from entry,” David Higgerson, director of field operations for the CBP’s Laredo Field Office. “Our CBP agriculture specialists play a vital role in preventing plant pests and diseases not known to exist in the U.S. from taking root and inflicting ecological and economic harm on American agriculture.”
The agency is referring people with questions to its “Know Before You Go” guide, which includes fruit, vegetables and other food that are prohibited at the border. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also has guidelines for bringing agricultural items into the U.S. as well, according to the release.