On July 17, 2007, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a final rule to revise and reorganize its regulations pertaining to the importation of fruits and vegetables, otherwise known as its Q-56 regulations. The purpose of the final rule is to simplify and expedite the APHIS process for approving new imports and pest-free areas, and to allow APHIS officials to focus its resources on more complex import issues.
The changes in the rule do not alter which fruits and vegetables are currently eligible for importation or how the risks associated with those commodities are evaluated or mitigated. This rule only makes more timely the approval of fruits and vegetables that are safe for importation into the United States.
On October 29, 2008, APHIS launched a searchable online database, known as the Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements—or FAVIR—database. FAVIR allows customers to search, by commodity or country, for authorized fruits and vegetables and their requirements for importation into the United States.
APHIS developed the FAVIR database in response to the June 2007 final rule, also known as the Q56 revision, that established a streamlined approach for the importation of certain fruits and vegetables without specific prior rulemaking. Commodities approved under the Q56 revision would not be reflected in the Code of Federal Regulations, but rather in the online database.