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USDA PROPOSES TO RELIEVE CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS ON THE MOVEMENT OF HASS AVOCADOS

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Melissa O'Dell (301) 734-5222
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on April 2 proposed a rule that would eliminate Anastrepha spp. fruit fly trapping requirements for Hass avocados imported from Mexico. This rule also would allow, under certain conditions, the interstate movement of Hass avocados from areas in the United States that are quarantined for Mexican and sapote fruit flies.

APHIS is taking this action as recently completed research found that unharvested Hass avocados are not a natural host to various species in the Anastrepha genus, which include Mexican and sapote fruit flies.

Based on these findings, APHIS proposes to remove the current trapping and bait spray requirements for Hass avocados from Mexico, because the restrictions are no longer necessary to safely import these products into the United States. However, APHIS still would require Mexican Hass avocados to meet post-harvest safeguarding and other existing import requirements prior to entry into the United States.

Under the proposed rule, U.S.-grown Hass avocados would be eligible to move interstate from areas quarantined for the Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly provided certain conditions are met. The avocados would have to be harvested and protected from fruit fly infestations during movement from the orchard to the packinghouse. The avocados also would have to be accompanied by a field record indicating the location of the orchard where the fruit originated. These measures, among others, would protect against the introduction of the Mexican or sapote fruit fly into uninfested areas of the United States.

This proposal would harmonize the domestic and foreign requirements for the movement of Hass avocados and would relieve unnecessary restrictions for avocado producers. In addition, it would provide an alternative for Hass avocados to be moved interstate if they originate in a Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly quarantined area of the United States.

This action was published in the April 2 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before June 2. Send an original and two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0189, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Comments can be submitted on the Federal eRulemaking portal at
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?
main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2006-0189
. Click on “Add Comments” to view public comments and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Reglations.gov Web site and also can be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

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