U.S. relaxes fumigation protocols for Peruvian asparagus

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U.S. relaxes fumigation protocols for Peruvian asparagus

U.S. authorities have relaxed fumigation procedures required for Peruvian asparagus, a customs specialist told website Producenews.net.

Perishable Specialist president Frank Ramos said the move would lower the cost of fumigation and the 'suffering' of the product, the story reported.

He said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the protocol on Aug. 4 and it is now in effect, the story reported.

"The new protocol changes several things - The dosage of methyl bromide has been lowered to four pounds," he was quoted as saying.

"The treatment time has been increased by one-half hour, but the Section 18 that Peruvian asparagus has been operating under has been removed."

The new law will reduce fumigation time from 8 to 6.5 hours, as Section 18 demanded if the fruit was below 50°F (10°C) post-fumigation then the procedure needed to be extended by two hours. The new protocol however extends initial fumigation from two to 2.5 hours, followed by a four hour aeration period.

The USDA also announced it is working with Canadian authorities to be able to send non-fumigated Peruvian asparagus to the North American neighbor from Miami.

"This is going to be very big - Canada is a growing point of consumption and there is much more air lift capacity coming to Miami than to New York. And it is much more expensive to air lift to New York. This is a very good deal for the importers," Ramos was quoted as saying.

"I have been told that the USDA is still working out the permit process, but once they do it will take about three weeks to certify each importer."

Fresh produce aside, Peru's export values of preserved asparagus are expected to grow by 41.6% this year to US$150 million, website Alertaeconomia.com reported.

First half shipments rose 53.2% year-on-year to US$67.6 million, with volumes jumping 31.3% to 29,300 metric tons (MT).

The story reported the rise was largely explained by increased purchases in Belgium, France, the U.S., Denmark and Spain.


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