The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of fresh pitahaya fruit into the continental United States from Ecuador. APHIS scientists have determined that fresh pitahaya fruit from Ecuador can be safely imported to the United States, while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of plant pests into the United States, if the fruit is produced under a systems approach.
The systems approach deemed necessary by APHIS scientists includes requirements for fruit fly trapping, pre-harvest inspections, and indicates that only fruit from approved production sites may enter the United States. In addition, packinghouses in Ecuador must put in place procedures to stop the movement of quarantine pests. Only commercial consignments can be imported and those shipments must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of Ecuador stating that the consignment was produced and prepared for export in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: 319.56-77.
APHIS experts have determined that these measures will mitigate any entry of plant pests into the United States. The rule becomes effective on July 20, 2017, thirty days after publication in the Federal Register.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Claudia Ferguson, M.S., Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, Imports, Regulations and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-2352; e-mail: Claudia.Ferguson@aphis.usda.gov.
To view the rule, public comments, and supporting documents, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0004.