Fumigation of fresh blueberries from Chile, required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since December following multiple finds of European grapevine moth in that country, can now be done on arrival at U.S. ports.
“This is a huge impact and relief for the Chilean berry industry and will enable the exporters who are unable to fumigate in country of origin to have a second avenue in order to ship,” Patricia Compres, president and chief executive officer of Miami-based Advance Customs Brokers & Consulting LLC, said in an e-mail.
Responding to a request by Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service — SAG — the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service modified the mitigation order Jan. 9. Previously, methyl bromide fumigation had to take place at field temperatures in Chile.
The revised order permits fumigation at ports in Elizabeth, N.J.; Long Beach, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Wilmington, Del.; and Philadelphia.
APHIS determined that Chilean blueberries arriving in cold storage and treated with methyl bromide at 4 pounds and 40 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours will mitigate the moth.
“Because of the substantial growth of the (grapevine moth) population in Chile during recent seasons and its unexpected detection on fresh blueberry, APHIS has determined that these additional requirements are necessary to prevent entry of (the moth) into the U.S. following the fresh blueberry pathway,” Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator for plant protection and quarantine, said in the announcement of the amended federal order.
The moth was detected in blueberries during inspections in Chile’s O’Higgins and Maule regions. Shipments from O’Higgins, Maule and Bio-Bio require fumigation. Consignments from other regions are subject to increased inspections through the APHIS preclearance program at the port of export.