USDA Amends Shipping Schedule for Imports of Certain Avocados
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued an interim rule changing the maturity requirements currently prescribed under the Florida avocado marketing order and making a corresponding change in the avocado import regulation. This rule is effective as of Sept. 19 and comments received by Nov. 17 will be considered prior to the issuance of a final rule.
This rule changes the maturity shipping schedule to allow certain sizes and weights of the Choquette avocado variety to be shipped to the fresh market a week earlier. The corresponding sizes and weights associated with these dates remain unchanged. AMS notes that the dates on the maturity schedule are the basis for calculating the actual shipping dates for each individual season, which are established as the Monday nearest to the date specified in the maturity schedule.
The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 provides that whenever certain specified commodities (including avocados) are regulated under a federal marketing order, imports of these commodities are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality or maturity requirements as those in effect for domestically produced commodities. As a result, this rule makes the same maturity date revisions for imported Choquette variety avocados as are being made for domestic fruit. AMS notes that the Hass, Fuerte, Zutano and Edranol varieties of avocados are currently exempt from the maturity schedule and continue to be under this rule. However, these varieties are not exempt from the import grade regulation, which is not being changed by this action.