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USDA AMENDS ITS REGULATIONS FOR LEMONS AND TOMATOES MOVED INTERSTATE FROM AREAS QUARANTINED FOR MEDITERRANEAN FRUIT FLY

March 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending the list of regulated articles in its domestic fruit fly quarantine regulations.

The regulations have indicated that smooth-skinned lemons (all varieties of Citrus limon) harvested for packing by commercial packinghouses are not regulated articles for Mediterranean fruit fly.  We are amending the regulations to designate all yellow lemons as regulated articles.  This change is based on research indicating that, under certain conditions, yellow lemons are a host for Mediterranean fruit fly.  As a result of this action, yellow lemons in an area quarantined for Mediterranean fruit fly will be subject to certain interstate movement restrictions in order to prevent the spread of that pest into uninfested areas of the United States.

APHIS is also amending the regulations to correct the previously published entry for tomatoes to indicate that only pink and red ripe tomatoes are regulated articles for Mediterranean fruit fly, while all tomatoes, regardless of the stage of ripeness, are regulated articles for melon, Oriental and peach fruit flies.

This action is published in today’s March 18 Federal Register and becomes effective April 19.

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Note to Reporters:  Public notices and other APHIS information are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.  Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov and click on the “Newsroom” button to view and/or sign up to receive releases via the RSS feed link.  For additional information about this topic, contact Greg Rosenthal at (301) 734-3265 or by e-mail at Gregory.J.Rosenthal@aphis.usda.gov.

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