APHIS Proposes to Allow Tree Tomatoes from Ecuador to be Imported into the Continental United States
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to allow fresh tree tomatoes (Solanum betaceum) from Ecuador into the continental United States. APHIS has determined that tree tomatoes produced under a systems approach can be safely imported. The proposed rule will be published on June 21, 2017 and available for comment for 60 days.
The systems approach includes the following measures:
- Commercial consignments of tree tomatoes must be grown in pest-free production areas registered and approved by the NPPO of Ecuador.
- Tree tomatoes must meet requirements for orchard pest control, post-harvest safeguards, and fruit culling.
- APHIS must be able to trace shipments back to the orchard where they were grown.
- Tree tomatoes must be packed in covered insect-proof containers within 24 hours of harvest.
- Tree tomatoes must be inspected at the port of entry and found to be free of quarantine pests in accordance with the proposed requirements.
Additionally, the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of Ecuador will have to provide APHIS with an operational workplan (subject to APHIS approval) that details activities the NPPO of Ecuador and production and packinghouses would implement to meet the requirements of the proposed systems approach. Tree tomatoes must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they were produced under, and meet all the components of the systems approach.
APHIS will carefully consider all comments received by the deadline August 21, 2017 and then make its decision regarding any change to the Agency’s import regulations for fresh tree tomatoes from Ecuador into the continental United States.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0072
- Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2015-0072, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
- Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0072 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.