The USDA has new requirements for fresh citrus imports from Colombia. ( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed new requirements for fresh citrus imports from Colombia.

In a rule published Feb. 6, the USDA said the changes would cover imports of fresh oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, clementines, and tangerines from Colombia.

U.S. imports of Colombian citrus were suspended by the USDA in 2016 due to the discovery of new plant pests in South America.

The new requirements on Colombian citrus imports will begin on Feb. 6, and the USDA said comments will be accepted until April 9.

Beyond earlier requirements of an import permit, fruit inspection upon arrival and cold treatment, the USDA has proposed new measures, including:

  • Imports in commercial consignments only;
  • Production areas must be registered and approved by plant quarantine officials;
  • Fruit fly trapping programs in the places of production; and
  • Standard packinghouse procedures.

Recent history

Although Colombia was first cleared to export citrus to the U.S. in 1963, the country hasn’t exported to the U.S. since 1995 because of decreased citrus output there and greater domestic consumption. However, Colombian officials said in late December 2015 it was ready to export to the U.S. The USDA suspended imports while to review measures needed to protect U.S. citrus from pests that emerged in South America after imports were first approved in 1963.