The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule to allow the importation of fresh lemons from northwest Argentina into the continental United States. The rule has been sent to the Federal Register and will become effective 30 days after it is published.
APHIS is adopting a “systems approach” requiring a number of safeguards to effectively reduce importation risk that includes:
- registration and monitoring of production places and packinghouses;
- pest free places of production;
- grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices;
- fruit disinfection and treatment with fungicide;
- lot identification and traceability to place of production; and
- inspection for quarantine pests by Argentine National Plant Protection Organization
Additionally, lemons would have to be harvested green within a certain time period, or treated for Medfly.
APHIS and Argentina must now finalize and sign the operation work plan.
There was considerable U.S. industry opposition to the final rule, primarily based on APHIS’s use of what is considered by many to be outdated research. However, APHIS determined that site visits in 2007, 2015, and September 2016, along with amendments to the dated pest risk assessment, provided sufficient assurances to allow the opening of the market.
For more information, please contact Ken Gilliland at (949) 885-2267.
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