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Melissa O’Dell (301) 734-5222
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

USDA ALLOWS IMPORTATION OF PEPPERS FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2006–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced that it has amended the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of peppers into the continental United States from the Republic of Korea.

Based on the scientific evidence of a recent pest risk analysis, peppers can be safely imported from the Republic of Korea, provided certain conditions are met. These requirements will continue to protect the United States against introductions of plant pests and diseases such as Agrotis segetum, a moth that feeds on a range of host plants, including peppers.

As a condition of entry, the peppers must be grown in the Republic of Korea in approved insect-proof, pest-free greenhouses and packed in pest exclusionary packinghouses. In order to safeguard against pest infestation during their movement, the peppers must be protected by an insect-proof mesh screen or plastic tarpaulin and packed in insect-proof containers. APHIS selected these measures, among others, to mitigate the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States.

The final rule is scheduled for publication in the May 22 Federal Register and becomes effective June 21

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