USDA to Allow Additional Cold Treatment Facilities to Aid Fruit Imports
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final establishing generic criteria that will allow for the approval of new cold treatment facilities in the southern and western states of the U.S. These areas have been largely excluded from consideration for cold treatment facilities due to conditions favorable for the establishment of exotic fruit flies, but APHIS has determined that regulated articles can be safely transported to, handled in, and treated by specific cold treatment facilities in these areas under special conditions to mitigate the possible escape of pests of concern. APHIS states that using generic phytosanitary criteria, rather than site-by-site approval, will make it easier to approve new cold treatment facilities in these areas and thus facilitate the importation of fruit requiring cold treatment while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of pests of concern into the U.S.
This rule will also (a) amend the fruit cutting and inspection requirements in the cold treatment regulations to expand cutting and inspection to commodities that have been treated for a wider variety of pests of concern, (b) add requirements concerning the establishment of compliance agreements for U.S. entities that operate fumigation facilities, and (c) harmonize language in the irradiation treatment regulations concerning state compliance with facility establishment and parameters for the movement of consignments from the port of entry or points of origin in the U.S. to the treatment facility with language in the cold treatment regulations.