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The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has pushed back from March 27 to May 26 the effective date of a final rule allowing the importation of fresh lemons from northwest Argentina into the continental U.S. This rule was initially postponed in accordance with a White House directive and is being further delayed to provide sufficient time to consider the stakeholder input made since Jan. 25.
Once this rule is effective, as a condition of entry subject lemons will have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of places of production and packinghouses; pest-free places of production; grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; treatment with a surface disinfectant; lot identification; and inspection for quarantine pests by the Argentine national plant protection organization.
Additionally, lemons from northwest Argentina will have to be harvested green and within a certain time period or treated for Mediterranean fruit fly in accordance with an approved treatment schedule. Such lemons will also be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they have been inspected and found to be free of quarantine pests and were produced in accordance with all applicable requirements.
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