USDA Proposes to Remove Exempted Grapes from Import Regulations
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to remove from the regulations established under the California table grape marketing order and the table grape import regulation administrative exemptions previously granted for other varieties of imported grapes, including those genetically related to the four varieties exempted under the regulations. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Aug. 22.
Under the terms of the marketing order, fresh market shipments of Vitis vinifera table grape varieties, including hybrids, from the production area (southeastern California) are required to be inspected and are subject to grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and container requirements during the period April 10 through July 10 each year. Table grapes imported during this regulatory period must also be inspected and certified as meeting the grade, size, quality, and maturity standards contained in the import regulation.
Historically, four varieties of grapes (Emperor, Calmeria, Almeria, and Ribier) have been exempted from requirements established under the order and the import regulation because they were not grown within the regulated production area. Sixteen other grape varieties genetically related to one or more of the four exempted varieties have also been subject to administrative exemptions from regulation under the import regulation because they were not grown in the production area. The proposed rule would update the regulations to remove all of the exempted varieties.