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USDA Moves to Allow Imports of Avocados, Apricots from Spain, Blueberries from Morocco

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued separate final rules that, effective Jan. 30, will allow the importation of avocados and fresh apricots from continental Spain (excluding the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands) into the U.S. Both avocados and apricots will have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes registration of production locations and packinghouses, pest monitoring, sanitary practices, chemical and biological controls, and phytosanitary treatment. The fruit will have to be imported in commercial consignments, with each consignment identified throughout its movement from place of production to the port of entry in the United States. Consignments will have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of Spain certifying that the fruit is free from all quarantine pests and has been produced in accordance with the systems approach. Consignments of avocados other than the Hass variety will also have to be treated for the Mediterranean fruit fly either prior to moving to the United States or upon arrival prior to release.

In addition, APHIS is accepting comments through March 3 on a proposed rule that would allow the importation of fresh blueberry fruit from Morocco into the continental United States. As a condition of entry, the blueberries would have to be produced under a systems approach employing a combination of mitigation measures for two quarantine pests, Ceratitis capitata and Monilinia fructigena, and would have to be inspected prior to exportation from Morocco and found free of these pests. The blueberries would have to be imported in commercial consignments only and would have to be treated with one of two approved post-harvest treatments to mitigate the risk of C. capitata. The blueberries would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the conditions for importation have been met.

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