USDA gives nod to Mexican dragonfruit, pomegranates - The Packer

USDA gives nod to Mexican dragonfruit, pomegranates

08/02/2011 01:29:00 PM
Tom Karst

Irradiated fresh pitaya — dragonfruit — and pomegranates from Mexico should be allowed into the U.S., according to a new pest risk assessment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The notice of a pest risk analysis for Mexican fresh pitaya and pomegranates was published in the Federal Register Aug. 2. Comments will be taken on the document until Oct. 3, according to the agency.

In the pest risk assessment, the USDA said fresh pitaya and pomegranates can be safely shipped to the U.S. if they are irradiated first. After taking comments on the pest risk assessment, the agency said it would announce its decision regarding the import status of the fresh pitaya and pomegranates in a later notice.

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Jalisco, Mexico  |  August, 02, 2011 at 03:34 PM

Could you explain, what do you mean with irradiate first..? What do i need to do.?

Lakeland, FL  |  August, 02, 2011 at 04:43 PM

I assume that pitaya is likely to be a medfly host; or it holds the potential for harboring a quarantine pest, not present in the US. Irradiation supposedly, kills all stages of the insect in the fruit, if present. But before doing anything, I would strongly recommend to do some research with the USDA. Find out what irradiation dosages they have worked with, what effect on the fruit may be, and most importantly, if there is any effects on the fruit shelf life. Then, I suggest to locate the closest irradiation facility from where you grow this fruit, and do your math

Odenton, Maryland  |  August, 03, 2011 at 07:17 AM

You would need to contact the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)/ Plant Pest Quarantine (PPQ) to determine the requirements for the Mexico to export fruits and vegetables into the U.S.. Typically Cobalt 60, a gamma radiation source treatment is used and in some cases treatment is needed prior to shipping or at the port your products are being shipped depending on the risk (i.e. you can only ship to ports with the equipment). A risk analysis is done to see the types of pests that can be hosted by the fruit and use the irradiator to kill the most radiation-resistant life-stage of the pest (i.e. larvae may require a higher dose than adults or the opposite may be true). Fruit flies usually require a lower amount of radiation than say a grain moth. Often times radiation can enhance shelf-life since it kills spoilage micro-organisms but too much radiation can damage the appearance/quality of the fruit so that commodity cannot be realistically imported as fresh fruit but may qualify as a processed puree or the like. Contact USDA/APHIS/PPQ for more information as requirements must be followed in order to ship to the U.S.A.

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, KS  |  August, 03, 2011 at 08:07 AM

Julio, The contact for more information is: Mr. Marc Phillips, Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulations, Permits, and Import Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4394. This information is included in the Federal Register notice: Regards, Chris Koger News Editor The Packer

Ananth Vas    
India  |  August, 27, 2012 at 06:14 AM

Gamma Irradiation using Cobalt-60 is a common method of treatment for various fresh fruits and vegetables, typically a dose of 600 to 1000 Kilogray is given for most fresh fruits. My company - Symec Engineers (India) Pvt Ltd manufactures Gamma Irradiation plants for treatment of food and medical products, If you would like more information, you can visit our website at : . We have literature and videos of gamma Irradiation available that can help better understand the process.

India  |  November, 02, 2012 at 04:27 AM

Correction - 600 to 1000 Gray, not Kilogray.

Jalisco, Mexico  |  May, 27, 2014 at 08:03 PM

Thanks for all the information..

Sonora, Mexico  |  December, 22, 2014 at 01:10 PM

Julio--if you grow pitahaya in Jalisco, would you please email me at We are growing it in Sonora and I would like to speak with you.

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