The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final rule that, effective Oct. 15, will amend its regulations to provide for the approval of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the U.S. using a notice-based process. This rule will also remove the region- or commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements currently found in the regulations. APHIS is making an equivalent regulatory revision concerning the interstate movement of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii and the U.S. territories (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and removing commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements from those regulations.
APHIS states that this rule will allow for the approval of requests to authorize the importation or interstate movement of new fruits and vegetables in a manner that enables a more flexible and responsive regulatory approach to evolving pest situations in both the U.S. and exporting countries. The rule will not, however, alter the science-based process in which the risk associated with importation or interstate movement of a given fruit or vegetable is evaluated or the manner in which such risks are mitigated.