Cherimoyas will be allowed into the U.S. under the systems approach. ( File photo )

Starting April 30, fresh cherimoyas from Chile will be allowed into the U.S. under an approach that safeguards against pest risks while not requiring the fruit to be treated.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires commercial shipments of fresh cherimoya fruit from Chile to be imported only after a soapy water and wax treatment to prevent the false red mite from entering the country.

At the request of Chilean officials, USDA scientists evaluated whether fresh cherimoya fruit could be safely imported using a systems approach, and asked for public comments, according to a news release.

After public input, the USDA determined that the fruit could safely enter the continental U.S. under a systems approach. A systems approach, according to the agency, is a series of measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers that minimize the risk of importing plant pests. The systems approach requires:

  • Locations where the fruit is grown must be registered with Chilean plant health officials;
  • Production locations must be marked on all fruit cartons so harvested fruit can be traced back to that location;
  • Shipments must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating the fruit was produced according to import requirements, and
  • Fruit must be inspected after it is harvested and processed for shipping.

Shipments that do not pass initial inspection may still be imported if the fruit is treated with soapy water and wax and completes additional inspection in Chile, according to the USDA.

The USDA said the changed import requirements won’t result in a significant increase on the volume of fresh cherimoya shipments from Chile, given that 80% of the country’s exports already are shipped to the U.S.

Chile’s fresh cherimoya exports to the U.S. are active in the fall, while California’s fresh cherimoya season begins in January and continues until May, according to the USDA.