May 6, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will publish a proposed rule that would amend the regulations to allow the importation of fresh lemon fruit from northwest Argentina into the continental United States. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 10. Comments will be due July 11, 2016.
After completing a comprehensive pest risk analysis and a visit to Argentina to observe production areas, production and packing practices, and trace back abilities, APHIS has determined lemons produced in Northwest Argentina can be safely imported into the continental United States utilizing a systems approach. The systems approach would require a number of safeguards to be applied across the fruit production continuum to effectively reduce any risk, including: registration and monitoring of production places and packinghouses; pest-free places of production; grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; fruit disinfection and treatment with fungicide; lot identification and traceability to the place of production; and inspection for quarantine pests by the Argentine national plant protection organization.
Additionally, lemons from northwest Argentina would have to be harvested green within a certain time period, or treated for Mediterranean fruit fly in accordance with an approved treatment schedule. All shipments would require a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the lemons have been inspected and found to be free of quarantine pests and were produced in accordance with the proposed requirements. APHIS will also conduct a second site visit to Argentina to verify that the country has fully implemented the terms of the operational work plan before this rule is finalized and shipments take place.
APHIS will carefully consider all comments received by the July 11, 2016 deadline and then make its decision regarding any change to the Agency’s import regulations for fresh lemon fruit from northwest Argentina into the continental United States.
When the docket is posted to the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 10th comments maybe submited by either of the following methods: