USDA Again Delays Imports of Fresh Lemons from Northwest Argentina
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has pushed back from March 27 to May 26 the effective date of a final rule allowing the importation of fresh lemons from northwest Argentina into the continental U.S. This rule was initially postponed in accordance with a White House directive and is being further delayed to provide sufficient time to consider the stakeholder input made since Jan. 25.
Once this rule is effective, as a condition of entry subject lemons will have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of places of production and packinghouses; pest-free places of production; grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; treatment with a surface disinfectant; lot identification; and inspection for quarantine pests by the Argentine national plant protection organization.
Additionally, lemons from northwest Argentina will have to be harvested green and within a certain time period or treated for Mediterranean fruit fly in accordance with an approved treatment schedule. Such lemons will also be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they have been inspected and found to be free of quarantine pests and were produced in accordance with all applicable requirements.