( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering new protocols on imported blueberries from two growing regions of Chile, in place of mandatory methyl bromide fumigation.

Chilean blueberries from areas where European grapevine moths have been found must undergo the fumigation. Chile’s national plant protection organization has requested that blueberries from the Biobio and Nuble regions instead follow a “systems approach” for imports from the two regions, according to a news release from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The systems approach procedures include:

  • Registering and farms and packinghouses in the affected regions;
  • Chile’s plant protection agency will conduct trapping programs in the two regions; and
  • Fumigation is mandatory for blueberries grown in areas regulated for the moth.

“A systems approach combines safeguarding measures across the production continuum by growers, packers, and shippers to minimize the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States via the importation of blueberries from Chile,” according to the release.

Comments will be accepted at the Federal Register website until June 1.

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