Pest prompts new requirements for Chilean blueberries
The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced Chilean blueberry exports will need to be fumigated, due to detections of European Grapevine Moth (Lobesia botrana) in the country's VI (O'Higgins) and VII (Maule) regions.
In a release, the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture said new measures would include methyl bromide fumigation treatment at origin at field temperature, along with increased inspections on arrival.
The fumigation requirement was effective as of Thursday for shipments from the VI, VII and VIII (Biobio) regions.
Chile's Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) informed U.S. authorities of the situation and has been in "permanent contact" to clarify the scope of the discoveries and agree upon what measures would be the most adequate and proportional to the potential risk posed by the pest for the market.
A technical team headed by Chilean Fruit Exporters' Association (ASOEX) president Ronald Bown and the heads of SAG's agricultural and international divisions has gone to Washington D.C. to carry out talks with APHIS representatives.
"The national industry has been doing tests to simulate protocols of fumigation at origin and also at destination, to ensure that the quality and condition of fruit that arrives in destination markets continues to be optimal," Chilean Blueberry Committee general manager Andrés Armstrong told www.freshfruitportal.com.
The committee chief indicated that fruit already authorized by the USDA before the emergency measures would continue its normal transit to the U.S., but on arrival would be subject to greater inspection.
Minagri announced that it would not rule out, if necessary, sending Agricultural Minister Luis Mayol to the U.S. to meet with his counterpart Tom Vilsack.