The first commercial shipments from the country could arrive by early September on the East Coast, according to a news release from Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet.
On July 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule that allows the importation of Uruguayan citrus. The effective date for the rule is Aug. 9.
For Seald Sweet, it represents the end of a long lobbying effort, Mayda Sotomayor, the company’s chief executive officer, said in the release.
“We are so excited that the ruling we have been pursuing over the last ten years is finally being passed,” Sotomayor said. “The quality of citrus is outstanding, and the availability of certain commodities nicely complements existing summer citrus programs, which enables us to continue building the category.”
For example, Sotomayor said, the Salustiana navel from Uruguay has fantastic exterior appearance and excellent interior eating quality.
“Uruguay has a long history as a citrus-producing country, with second- and third-generation farming operations, and (the country has) well-established supply channels in the European market, which is accustomed to high quality standards,” she said.
Despite several setbacks, efforts by various individuals and organizations finally led to the USDA requirement of due diligence being met and approval of market access, she said.