Federal officials are seeking comments on proposals to change onion grade standards that would allow multi-colored onions to be packaged together and assigned a U.S. standard grade.
“Currently, it’s permissible to pack and sell various colors of onions in the same pack. However, if a packer-grower chooses to have their mixed color onion packs graded, the packs cannot be certified to a U.S. grade, because the standards do not permit comingling colors in the same pack,” said Pamela Stanziani, AMS public affairs officer.
The proposed revisions, published Aug. 22 in the Federal Register, would cover all three categories of commercially produced onions in the U.S. — Creole, Bermuda-Granex-Grano and “other than” Bermuda-Granex-Grano and Creole.
“The proposed change … reflects a shift in onion packing-shipping practices that is already underway. The additional flexibility … will facilitate additional onion sales to the benefit of growers, packers and consumers,” according to the Federal Register notice.
Comments must be filed by Oct. 21. To file comments online, visit www.regulation.gov. To mail comments, write to: Standardization Branch, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, National Training Center, Riverside Business Park, 100 Riverside Parkway, suite 101, Fredericksburg, Va., 22406.