( Courtesy Department of Commerce )

The U.S. Department will start inspecting Mexican tomatoes entering the U.S. on April 4, as part of the suspension agreement with the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will be inspecting the tomatoes for quality and condition, according to a news release.

The inspections apply to all bulk grape tomatoes, and all round and roma tomatoes, including stem-on.

Tomatoes-on-the-vine, specialty tomatoes and grape tomatoes in retail packs of two pounds or less are exempt from the inspections, according to a news release.

Importers must request the inspection through the AMS when the load is available for inspection, and pay the related fees.

The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration has information on the inspections on its website.

The 2019 Suspension Agreement does not affect Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, according to the USDA. That law requires imported products to meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality and maturity standards of U.S. products covered by federal marketing orders. A FAQ concerning those standards and the suspension agreement is on the AMS website.

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