Background

Melons from Japan

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to revise the conditions for the importation of melons from Japan. Comments on this proposal are due no later than July 20.

Currently, fresh melons from Japan may be imported into Hawaii and fresh cantaloupes and honeydew melons may be imported into Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands from areas of Japan other than Amami, Bonin, Ryukyu, Tokara, and Volcano Islands. To be eligible for importation under current requirements, such melons must be certified as hothouse grown on or north of Honshu Island and are subject to inspection at the U.S. port of entry.

APHIS is now proposing to allow the importation of fresh melons with stems from Japan into the entire U.S. if the following phytosanitary measures are used.

 - imported as commercial consignments only

- each consignment inspected and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the Japanese national plant protection organization stating that the melons are free of cucumber green mottle mosaic virus

- each consignment subject to inspection upon arrival in the U.S.

Banana Plant Parts

Effective May 20 APHIS has prohibited the importation of certain plant parts of all banana and plantain species (Musa spp.) and Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum) from Australia, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mayotte, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. APHIS is taking this action to prevent the introduction and establishment in the U.S. and its territories of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (Foc TR4), a fungal pathogen that causes vascular wilting and death in bananas and plantains.

Covered plant parts include rooted plants, rooted and unrooted cuttings, roots, and rhizomes known to carry Foc TR4. The order does not apply to seeds, leaves, cut flowers, fruits, and plants grown only in tissue culture or in-vitro since these are not significant pathways for Foc TR4.

Separately, APHIS has removed Costa Rica from the list of countries where Foc TR4 is known to exist, thus lifting any corresponding restrictions on the importation of Foc TR4 hosts from this country.

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