( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed to allow U.S. imports of avocados from Ecuador.

The USDA said June 14 that agency scientists believe the fruit can be safely imported after a process to protect against the introduction of pests. 

The USDA will consider all comments received by Aug. 14 at regulations.gov.

The USDA said steps to exporting commercial shipments to the U.S. include production site and packinghouse requirements, and inspection of each shipment.

Ecuador is a relatively small exporter of avocados, the USDA said.

From 2010-15, Ecuador’s total avocado exports to all countries averaged 4,884 metric tons per year.

Over the same period, annual U.S. avocado imports averaged more than 570,000 metric tons, so the agency said Ecuador’s potential avocado exports to the U.S. aren’t expected to significantly hurt U.S. growers.