FOR INFORMATION AND ACTION
To: State and Territory Agricultural Regulatory Officials
Effective May 20, 2021, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will prohibit the importation of certain plant parts of all banana and plantain species (Musa spp.) and Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum), to prevent the introduction and establishment of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (Foc TR4) into the United States and its territories. APHIS will prohibit the imports of these species from the following countries where Foc TR4 is known to occur: Australia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mayotte, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Viet Nam.
The Federal Order applies to Musa spp. and Ensete ventricosum plant parts including rooted plants, rooted and unrooted cuttings, roots, and rhizomes known to carry Foc TR4 from the identified countries where the pathogen is known to occur. The Federal Order does not apply to seeds, leaves, cut flowers, fruits, and plants grown only in tissue culture or in-vitro since these are not significant pathways for Foc TR4.
Foc TR4 is a fungal quarantine pathogen that causes vascular wilting and death in bananas and plantains. The pathogen enters through the roots of its host, settles within the tissues of the vessels, and blocks the flow of water causing plant wilting and death. Foc TR4 can also establish in the soil where it can survive for decades without its host, and spread long distance through movement of infested soil, contaminated equipment, and infected plant parts. A similar strain of Fusarium oxysporum was responsible for the near extinction of the ‘Cadenvish’ cultivar in the 1930s.
APHIS has determined that it is necessary to establish prohibitions on the importation of specific regulated articles as listed in the attached Federal Order to prevent the introduction and dissemination of Fusarium
oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 into the United States and territories because it poses a threat to the U.S. banana and plantain industry. For Puerto Rico alone, the estimated total monetary loss and long-term economic affect is valued over three billion dollars.
For additional information regarding this Federal Order, please contact Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist Lydia E. Colon at 301-851-2302 or Lydia.email@example.com.
Dr. Osama El-Lissy
Plant Protection and Quarantine
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.