The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to revise the minimum quality, positive lot identification, and reporting and recordkeeping standards for domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States. The Peanut Standards Board believes these changes would make additional peanuts available for sale, help increase efficiencies and reduce costs to the industry. Comments are due no later than March 21.

The proposed rule includes the following provisions.

- clarifies that peanuts covered under the standards are raw peanuts and intended for further processing by manufacturers prior to human consumption

- revises the minimum quality requirements under both the incoming and outgoing standards by eliminating the 10.49 percent limit on the amount of foreign material that incoming farmers stock peanuts may contain, which will allow individual handlers to determine the amount of foreign material they would be willing to accept

- relaxes the allowance for damage and defects to 3.5 percent for all unshelled peanuts, kernels and cleaned-in-shell peanuts

- defines the necessary requirements for an industry-based traceability system and provides allowances for systems meeting these requirements to be used in place of positive lot identification prior to inspection and certification

- continues the PLI requirements for all peanuts meeting the outgoing standards

- eliminates the requirement for importers and handlers to submit a monthly report documenting their monthly farmers stock acquisitions

- reflects that the “stamp and fax” entry process is being replaced by the International Trade Data System

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