The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a Federal Register notice that the agency intends to remove the requirement that unshu oranges from the islands of Shikoku or Honshu have to be fumigated with methyl bromide as a condition of entry to a port of entry in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Texas.
Currently, the USDA said unshu oranges imported into the U.S. from the islands of Shikoku or Honshu must be fumigated with methyl bromide as a pest treatment for mites and mealybugs, provided that the oranges are destined to a port of entry in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Texas.
The national plant protection organization of Japan asked USDA to remove the methyl bromide fumigation requirement for unshu oranges imported into the U.S. from the islands of Honshu or Shikoku on the grounds that the pests the treatment targets are surface feeders and can easily be detected during phytosanitary inspection of the oranges.
Unshu oranges from the island of Kyushu are currently prohibited entry into Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, or Texas, but the USDA said it intends to change the regulation so unshu oranges from the island of Kyushu can be imported to any port of entry in the U.S.
The Japan plant health officials provided trapping data showing the pest of concern has not been detected on the island of Kyushu since 2016, and Japan requested that USDA allow unshu oranges from that island into all ports of entry in the U.S.
For Japanese sand pears, the USDA said it has prepared a pest risk analysis on the importation of sand pears from Japan.
Currently, sand pears may only be imported into the U.S. from certain authorized production areas within Japan.
“Based on the findings of the (pest risk) analysis, we are proposing to authorize the importation of sand pears from all of Japan, rather than specific areas of production, and to revise the conditions under which sand pears from Japan may be imported into the U.S.,” the USDA said in a notice.
“We have concluded that sand pears can safely be imported from all of Japan (excluding Amami, Bonin, Ryukyu, Tokara, and Volcano Islands), using the following phytosanitary measures for imports to any U.S. state or territory other than Hawaii.
The USDA said it will consider all comments received on proposed changes to import requirements for Japanese unshu oranges and sand pears through Nov. 22.