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USDA Shifts Import Process for Fruits and Vegetables

Certain fruits and vegetables will have a more streamlined, risk-based import process.

The rules for fruit and vegetable imports are going to change for certain products. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns says that the new approach will streamline the current safety process based on risk in order to better allocate resources.

"This new approach will allow us to focus less on administrative processes and more on the science of facilitating imports that do not pose a risk of introducing foreign pests and diseases," says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "A more efficient review process for imported fruits and vegetables should also help to expand market access for U.S. agricultural exports as other countries recognize U.S. efforts to encourage trade."

The new process will only apply to fruits and vegetables that can be imported into the U.S. subject to port-of-entry inspection, approved postharvest treatment, a phytosanitary certificate verifying that it originated from a pest-free area, a phytosanitary certificate verifying that it is free from a specified pest or pests or that the risk associated with the commodity can be mitigated through commercial practices.

Fruits and vegetables that currently require additional phytosanitary measures will continue to undergo the full process.

To learn more about these revisions, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/Q56/index.html.

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