U.S. loosens restrictions on "misshapen" kiwifruit

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U.S. loosens restrictions on "misshapen" kiwifruit

U.S. consumers and importers could soon have more kiwifruit to choose from in future, with the help of a new rule that relaxes minimum grade requirements for the fuzzy fruit. kiwifruit stack square 1

An Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) rule set to take effect on Friday will increase tolerance for "badly misshapen" kiwifruit from 7% to 16%, under the Marketing Order No. 920 that regulates the handling of kiwifruit in California.

While the order applies to California growers, a section of the act it falls under dictates that imports must meet the same or comparable standard.

In a final rule published on the Federal Register, AMS said the new rule would help reduce the costs of repacking and re-sorting fruit that didn't meet the grade.

"It is also expected to help facilitate and streamline the packing process by avoiding disruptions associated with repacking and re-sorting fruit," AMS said.

"Importers also benefit from this change as a greater volume of fruit is available for shipment to the United States. The opportunities and benefits of this rule are equally available to all kiwifruit handlers, growers, and importers, regardless of their size."

AMS said there were currently 178 kiwifruit growers subject to the regulations, along with 28 handlers and 53 importers. The majority of California kiwifruit growers are considered as small entities with average annual revenues of less than US$750,000.

On the import front, AMS said data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce showed the value of kiwifruit imports for 50 of the 53 importers was less than US$7 million per year.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



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