The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting comments through May 17 on a proposal to allow imports of commercial avocados from continental Ecuador into the continental U.S. under certain conditions. These conditions include those set forth in a June 2018 proposal as well as the following additional conditions designed to safeguard against an additional pest.

- Avocados must be grown in pest-free places of production for the avocado seed pest Stenoma catenifer that are established and maintained in accordance with international standards.

- APHIS must approve the survey protocol used by the national plant protection organization of Ecuador to determine and maintain pest-free status.

- If the avocados are grown in a municipality free of Stenoma catenifer it must be surveyed every six months for the pest.

- If the avocados are grown in a municipality not completely free of Stenoma catenifer the NPPO of Ecuador can certify individual places of production as pest-free.

- If one or more Stenoma catenifer are detected during a survey or any other monitoring or inspection activity the place of production will be prohibited from exporting avocados to the continental U.S. until APHIS and the NPPO of Ecuador jointly agree that the risk has been mitigated.

- The NPPO of Ecuador must keep records of Stenoma catenifer detections for each place of production and update the records each time those places are surveyed. The records must be maintained for at least one year.

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