USDA Relaxes Standards for Imported Potatoes, Oranges
Potatoes. The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has adopted as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that does the following for the remainder of the 2013-2014 fiscal period and subsequent periods:
- exempts red types of potatoes from the handling regulations of the Washington potato marketing order;
- requires the submission of a monthly handler report for fresh red types of potatoes handled
during the exemption period; and
- continues in effect the action that exempted imported red-skinned, round type potatoes from the minimum grade, size, quality, maturity and inspection requirements of the potato import regulation.
Oranges. AMS has also adopted as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that relaxed the minimum size requirement for oranges imported or grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas from 2 6/16 inches to 2 3/16 inches in diameter. AMS believes this action provides additional fruit to fill a shortage in the fresh market and provides smaller-sized fruit to meet consumer demand.
AMS notes that Chile, South Africa, Mexico and Australia are the major orange-producing countries exporting oranges to the United States. In 2012, shipments of oranges imported into the United States totaled around 119,000 metric tons, including 51,510 metric tons from Chile, 35,960 metric tons from South Africa, 17,421 metric tons from Mexico and 11,100 metric tons from Australia.