The United States’ Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says after completing a comprehensive pest risk analysis which included a visit to Argentina to observe production areas, production and packing practices, and trace-back abilities, APHIS has determined lemons produced in northwest Argentina can be safely imported into the continental United States. The proposal was published May 10 and will be open to comments till July 11.
California Citrus Mutual (CCM) greatly opposes this proposal, saying this is just another act in a series of moves that jeopardize crop safety.
“This (move) follows on the heels of proposed rules allowing Chilean lemons into the country under less stringent protocols to avoid invasive pest and diseases. The Chilean rule followed a proposal to allow Australian oranges into the United States from a heretofore designated pest-infested area.”
CCM claims the move is based off of a trip that took place eight years ago and may not have current information on pest and disease issues. CCM also states that the proposal ‘defies logic’.
‘It defies logic because the previous administration in Argentina had denied and cancelled access for many agricultural products and now this administration rewards that bad behavior without generating any support for domestic agriculture. It defies logic because in 2014 the Argentines exported almost $400m in agricultural products to the United States, whereas we exported a paltry $5m of comparable product to Argentina.’