Under the standards, if an eggplant pack is designated as mixed or specialty, it can contain more than one color or type of eggplant and receive a Fancy or No. 1 grade, said Dave Horner, a USDA standardization specialist.
In the past, U.S. shippers could pack mixed packs, but they weren’t grade-certified, Horner said.
In addition, AMS will remove the “unclassified” category from the standards.
The new standards, which go into effect Feb. 4, will allow the U.S. eggplant industry to better meet consumer demand compete in an increasingly competitive world market, according to a USDA news release.
The notice of the new standards was published in the Jan. 3 Federal Register.