APHIS approves Panaman peppers for market entry - FreshFruitPortal.com

APHIS approves Panaman peppers for market entry

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APHIS approves Panaman peppers for market entry

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plant safety service has approved the entry of Panaman peppers without treatment.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the regulation change would be effective as of Sep. 22, with U.S. Government oversight to take place in parts of Panama where Mediterranean or Mexican fruit flies are thought to exist.

The service said in these areas production sites would need to include pest-exclusionary greenhouses with double self-closing doors, with all other openings and vents covered with 1.6mm or less screening.

"The screening requirements listed in the regulations are intended only to provide protection from infestation by Medfly or Mexfly. However, the other mitigation measures established in the systems approach provide protection against a number of pests, including pea leafminer," APHIS said in a release.

"Those measures include pre-harvest inspection, shipping procedures, and port-of-entry inspection, which provide an appropriate cumulative level of protection.

"In reference to the commenter's concern about the difficulty of detecting the presence of pea leafminer based on visual inspection, we are confident that pre-harvest inspections coupled with port-of-entry inspections will prove effective."

The service sought submissions for a 60-day period which ended on Aug. 2, 2010 with five comments received during that timeframe, from producers, representatives of state and foreign governments, and private individuals.

From 1998 to 2001 the Central American country shipped an average of 20MT of pepppers annually to the U.S., while the latest economic analysis forecasts the Panaman product could account for 0.02% of U.S. pepper consumption at the most.

Photo: MSU

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