Mandatory Inspections of Imported Walnuts Suspended

The Department of Agriculture has announced that beginning Sept. 1 it imposed a six-month moratorium on the enforcement of mandatory inspection requirements for California walnuts and imported walnuts. If the California Walnut Board submits a proposal for a formal rulemaking to address the inspection requirements in the federal marketing order for California walnuts, USDA will extend the moratorium until the rulemaking process is resolved. USDA notes that the moratorium is based on discussion with industry about market disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as labor and transportation interruptions and ongoing tariff issues.

Imported Geraniums to See Random Testing

Effective Sept. 27 the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will begin testing randomly selected imports of geranium plant material for the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum at plant inspection stations at major ports of entry. APHIS states that this testing will add a safeguarding measure to its offshore certification programs, which are designed to minimize a commodity’s plant pest risk before it ships.

According to APHIS, the testing may increase a shipment’s time on hold by approximately 8 to 24 hours, but this delay can be minimized if shipments are presented early in the workday. The number of plants tested will depend on the shipment’s size but will not exceed 298 cuttings. Regulatory action will be taken on a shipment if at least one cutting tests positive for Ralstonia solanacearum at the species level.

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