A ban on fresh cherries from Ontario shouldn’t affect Canadian exporters or U.S. consumers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the ban on May 23, citing “multiple detections” of the European cherry fruit fly. Host plants for the pest are cherry trees and honeysuckle vines.
Canada exports 3.3 million pounds of cherries to the U.S., most of them to eastern states, according to Statistics Canada. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania take 1.4 million pounds; Michigan imports 600,000 pounds of fresh cherries from Canada.
Mike Mecker, a member of the Vineland Growers Cooperative, Jordan Station, Ontario, said none of those are from Ontario. Cherries from that province are exclusively sold in Canada, he said.
“I don’t believe that any at all are exported to the USA,” he said. “The effect on the Ontario Cherry growers should be nil.”
Commercial and non-commercial — such as tourists who visited u-pick cherry orchards — imports of fresh cherries banned, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported five detection sites in Ontario. The ban will continue until the pest is eradicated, according to an APHIS spokeswoman.