APHIS publishes PRA for systems approach for Chilean table grape imports
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) has published a pest risk assessment of a long-awaited systems approach for Chilean table grape imports, which would greatly improve the Latin American country's market access.
APHIS is welcoming public comments on the proposal until March 29, 2022.
If approved, it would mean that Chilean table grape exporters would no longer be required to use methyl bromide fumigation on fruit sent to the U.S., which has been a hindrance for the industry, resulting in increased costs and lower quality fruit on arrival at the destination.
"While Chile already has market access for grapes, this PRA was requested by PPQ to determine the current pests that would be associated with the pathway as candidates for mitigation in support of developing a systems approach that does not include methyl bromide as a treatment," APHIS said in the report.
"In preparing this PRA, we did not consider any washing or pest mitigations during the pathway. The pest risk ratings depend on the application of all conditions of the pathway as described in this document. Grape clusters produced under different conditions were not evaluated and may pose a different pest risk."
Chilean fruit exporters' association ASOEX said in August last year that Chile has been working to remove the fumigation requirement for almost two decades. The requirement was temporarily lifted in 2008, following a successful pilot program, but was put in place again following a pest detection.