APHIS taking comments on plan to accept pummelo fruit from Thailand

Shipments of pummelo from Thailand under review by USDA.

 A USDA agency is taking public comment on a proposal to allow fresh pummelo fruit to be imported from Thailand if certain safety precautions are met.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seeks to amend its regulations to allow shipments into the continental United States after its scientists determined the fruit can be safely imported under a systems approach, the agency explains in a news release.

Such an approach is a series of measures taken by growers, packers and shippers that minimize pest risks before shipping. In this case, safeguards would include irradiation treatment, certain packinghouse processing requirements and inspection at ports of entry, according to the release.

The fruit also would have to be imported in commercial shipments and be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate declaring it was produced under these conditions, APHIS explains.

Pummelo is a non-hybrid citrus fruit native to South and Southeast Asia.

APHIS published its proposal on March 29, opening a 60-day comment period on whether to accept the fruit. Comments must be received by May 28. To comment, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0034, or mail comments to Docket No. APHIS-2016-0034, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road United 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Supporting documents and any comments the agency receives will be posted at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0034 or in the agency’s reading room, which is Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. Call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

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