Adjusting rules to allow fruit from Thailand and India to be irradiated upon arrival to the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also made it easier for irradiation facilities to be located in southern U.S. states.

In a rule that goes into effect Aug. 20, the USDA said tropical fruit from Thailand and India can be irradiated upon arrival to the U.S. Previous regulations had stipulated tropical fruit from those countries had to be treated before shipment.

The agency will expand the approved location of irradiation facilities to any U.S. state.

A previous rule had precluded irradiation treatment facilities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.

While Sun Belt states have a more favorable climate for spread of exotic pests, the agency said it will put safeguards in place to prevent any infestations.

“We will require trapping and other pest monitoring activities within 4 square miles of the facility to help prevent establishment of any escaped pests of concern,” the USDA said.

With irradiation as the only designated pest treatment option, USDA allows imports various tropical produce from India, Vietnam, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand and Hawaii.