Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to amend its import regulations for peppers from the Republic of Korea. This commodity is currently allowed into the United States if it is grown in insect-proof greenhouses equipped with double self-closing doors and 0.6mm screening over any openings other than the doors. The amendment allows the mesh size of required screening to increase from 0.6 mm to 1.6 mm and requires the use of colored sticky traps as an additional pest monitoring measure.
Korea’s national plant protection organization requested the change because the smaller openings reduce air flow and increase humidity, causing mold growth that impacts fruit quality and hampers exports. APHIS scientists evaluated this request and determined that there is no additional pest risk related to the change in mesh size when used with other mitigations. This action satisfies our commitment under the International Plant Protection Convention to authorize the importation of plants and plant products subject to the least restrictive phytosanitary measures and would allow Korea to reestablish pepper exports to the United States.
APHIS will carefully consider all comments received by June 19, 2018. This notice may be viewed in today’s Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/20/2018-08250/imports-peppers-from-the-republic-of-korea-mesh-screening-size. Beginning tomorrow, members of the public will be able to submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0094