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Additional Anti-Fruit Fly Treatment Authorized for Imported Blueberries

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is adding to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual an additional treatment schedule for methyl bromide fumigation of blueberries to prevent infestation by the Mediterranean fruit fly and South American fruit fly. Interested parties may submit no later than Aug. 19 comments on a treatment evaluation document that describes the new treatment schedule and explains why APHIS has determined that it is effective at neutralizing these pests.

According to APHIS, a treatment schedule currently listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual requires blueberries to be treated with methyl bromide at 70 °F or above using 2 lbs gas/1,000 ft3for 3.5 hours at normal atmospheric pressure, whether in chambers or under tarpaulin. Because the temperature requirement has presented an undue economic hardship for exporters, in 2009 Argentina requested and subsequently provided the supporting efficacy data for APHIS to approve a new methyl bromide treatment to be applied in chambers at a lower temperature. APHIS has approved this request with a slight modification and is therefore adding a new treatment schedule that provides for the application of methyl bromide at a temperature of 60 °F at a dosage rate of 2 lbs gas/1,000 ft3for 3.5 hours in a chamber. To minimize the adverse impact on the ongoing trade of blueberries, this change is effective as of June 18.

If no comments are received, or if the comments received do not change APHIS’ determination that the treatment is effective, the addition of this treatment schedule to the PPQ Treatment Manual will be affirmed and a new version of this manual will be made available. If APHIS receives comments that cause it to determine that the new treatment schedule needs to be changed or removed, it will make available a new version of the manual that reflects such changes or removal.

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