The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will offer more fruit fly treatment options for Australian citrus exporters shipping to the U.S.
The USDA notice, published March 30 in the Federal Register, will give Australian citrus exporters more options, said Stu Monaghan, sales manager for Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales, the exclusive U.S. importer of Australian citrus.
Monaghan said the USDA indicated they will allow cold treatment period for citrus fruit from areas infested by the Queensland fruit fly to be adjusted for a longer time period but slightly higher temperatures. Monaghan said the USDA adjusted the maximum allowable temperature from about 33 degrees to 37 degrees while the treatment period goes from 12 days to 16 days.
In any case, Monaghan said only a small percentage of citrus from Australia must undergo cold treatment, since only a small part of the growing area is infested with Queensland fruit fly. Cold treatment can typically be accomplished in the 21-day ocean transit period to the U.S., he said.
Shipments of Australia navel oranges to the U.S. are expected to begin in June and should feature about 1 million cartons, Monaghan said.
“We had very large sizes last year, but this year we will be peaking on retailer friendly sizes of 72s and 56s,” he said.