The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has extended from Feb. 16 to March 20 the comment period on a proposed rule that would allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental U.S. As a condition of entry, such avocados would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes the following requirements.

- the avocados are grown by places of production registered with the national plant protection organization of Colombia and determined to be free from three specific pests

- the avocados are packed for export in pest-exclusionary packinghouses registered with the NPPO of Colombia

- the avocados are imported in commercial consignments only

- grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices

- the avocados are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they have been produced in accordance with the proposed requirements

APHIS has said that Colombia is expected to export 10,000 metric tons of Hass avocados to the U.S. each year and that 20 percent of this amount would displace imports from other countries.

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