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Melissa O'Dell (301) 734-5222
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, June 8, 2006-The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced that it is allowing, under certain conditions, the importation of untreated citrus, such as grapefruit, sweet oranges and tangerines, from Mexico for processing in certain areas of Texas that are under quarantine for the Mexican fruit fly.

To be eligible for importation, the fruit must originate from production sites in Mexico that participate in an APHIS-approved Mexican fruit fly preventive release program that uses sterile insects. APHIS-approved traps and lures must also be placed in production sites and a surrounding 1.5 mile buffer zone that will be monitored by APHIS.

Each shipment must also be accompanied by phytosanitary certificate issued by Mexico's National Plant Protection Organization with additional declarations stating that the trapping requirements have been met. In addition, untreated Mexican citrus must be packed in insect-proof containers or covered with insect-proof mesh or plastic tarpaulin during its movement to Texas. APHIS selected these measures, among others, to effectively mitigate the risk of introducing fruit flies into the United States.

This action would relieve unnecessary restrictions while continuing to protect against the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States.

The final rule is published in the June 8 Federal Register and will become effective July 10.


Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS news release page at /lpa/newsroom. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to lyris@mdrdlyriss10.aphis.usda.gov and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.

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