U.S. eases produce import restrictions on Morocco, Dominican Republic
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is ending a suspension on citrus from the Berkane region in northeast Morocco, having conducted an audit mission in October, Morocco World News reported.
The story reported APHIS officials had been satisfied that phytosanitary requirements were being met through the action plan, developed in conjunction with their Moroccan counterparts.
The restrictions were put in place after Mediterranean fruit flies (Medfly) were found in two clementine shipments from Berkane during the 2016-17 export season, the article said.
Between Oct. 26 and Dec. 7, the region exported 13,600 metric tons (MT) to Russia, 10,600MT to Europe, 3,400MT to Canada and 300MT to other destinations. Exports over this period represent a 12% year-on-year increase.
In a separate development, APHIS has announced it is lifting the restrictions placed in March 2015 on numerous fruit and vegetables from the Dominican Republic.
The original action was taken in response to multiple detections of Medfly in the Punta Cana region.
The products included in the ban were avocados, clementines, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and mandarins.
APHIS said it had updated the Federal Order three times since March 2015 to relieve restrictions on Hass avocado imports, which are not a Medfly host, as well as some other commodities.
"The NPPO of Dominican Republic, with the technical assistance of APHIS, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Food and Agriculture Organization, developed and established a comprehensive nationwide monitoring network and initiated an eradication campaign conducting bait sprays and Medfly sterile release," it said.
"APHIS evaluated the Medfly trapping, eradication activities, and trapping results. No medflies have been trapped in the Dominican Republic since January 9, 2017.
"APHIS has determined the trapping results provided by the NPPO and APHIS technical team meet the requirements for eradication of Medfly. Therefore, APHIS is lifting the Federal Order restricting the import of Medfly host fruits and vegetables from Dominican Republic into the United States."