Background

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has reopened through May 5 the period for public comments on its proposal to establish alternative requirements for imports into the continental United States of fresh apple fruit from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and fresh pear fruit from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

The proposed rule would allow imports of such fruit produced under a systems approach consisting of production site and packinghouse registration, inspection of registered production sites twice a season, production site pest control and sanitation, post-harvest safeguards, fruit culling, traceback, sampling, cold treatment against Mediterranean fruit fly in countries where the pest is known to occur, a phytosanitary certificate, port of entry inspection, and importation as commercial consignments only.

Such fruit that does not meet these requirements could continue to be imported subject to the conditions of the existing preclearance program. These conditions include a trust fund agreement between the national plant protection organization of the exporting country and APHIS, orchard and packinghouse inspections for quarantine plant pests, approved mitigations for infested orchards, cold treatment of fruit against Medfly in countries where the pest is known to occur, identification of orchards and packinghouses for traceback of each consignment, packinghouse handling and safeguarding requirements for fruit intended for shipment to the U.S., and preclearance inspection.

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