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Valentine's flowers inspected before you buy

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-13 12:04:43-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Before you can take home Valentine’s flowers, a whole process of inspection goes into making sure they’re safe to sell.

Most imported flowers come to the United States through Miami.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol processed more than 890 million of them through Miami last year.

Customs agents check for about 1,400 pests and diseases that would harm local agriculture. Flowers must be cleared before making it past the airport and into warehouses where they’ll then be picked up by area florists.

Mike Peterson, president of Peterson’s Flower Market in Delray Beach and Boca Raton, says his shop calls and orders a lot of  its shipments from South America.

"It could be this week from Colombia, next week from Ecuador," Peterson said. He adds that because of the required inspections, he never has to worry that his bouquets might be unsafe.

Like many flower shops in the area, Peterson’s sends a driver to Miami daily once the flowers have been cleared. The market’s owners say they’ve brought back more than enough to stay stocked through the weekend.