The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is standardizing approval of new cold treatment facilities in Southern and Western U.S. states.
“While the new process will eliminate the rulemaking requirement for new cold treatment facilities in Southern and Western States, APHIS will still evaluate each proposed location and approve it only after sufficient safeguards are identified and concurrence from the pertinent state is obtained,” according to a USDA news release.
The agency also said it is formalizing existing treatment procedures for fruits and vegetables and make them more consistent, transparent, and enforceable, according to the release.
Those actions include:
> Expanding fruit cutting and inspection to commodities that have been cold-treated for a wider variety of pests of concern;
> Requiring compliance agreements for most treatment facilities and providers, including those who conduct fumigations or operate a fumigation facility in the U.S.; and
> Harmonizing language in the irradiation treatment regulations with the cold treatment regulations. The rule becomes effective on March 14, according to the USDA.