Some Haitian mango plants recertified
Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have recertified six treatment plants for mangoes, authorizing them to initiate operations effective July 19, and clearing the way for the resumption of mango exports to the U.S.
The United States put a temporary block on all imports of mangoes from Haiti beginning July 5. APHIS officers at Port Everglades on June 25 discovered fruit fly larvae in a shipment of mangoes from Haiti. That led to inspections of mango shipments that had not yet left Haiti, and officials found fruit fly larvae in two shipments. Because all of the shipments had been treated and had been cleared at different treatment plants, U.S. officials decided there was a systematic problem at treatment facilities.
APHIS inspection teams were sent to Haiti the week of July 9 to begin checking the treatment plants. They cleared six of the plants on July 17, and notified the Haitian national plant protection agency Wednesday that the plants had been cleared and reauthorized, according to APHIS spokeswoman Melissa O'Dell.
In addition, officials have instituted a post-treatment cutting program to assure the treatments — which are done with hot water — are effective.
There are still three other treatment plants in Haiti under suspension, pending recertification testing and review. APHIS officials began detailed investigations at those plants on July 13, O'Dell added.
The United States has no direct control or inspection role in Haiti, but it does control which products are allowed into the country. Mango exports are one of the success stories for the struggling Haitian economy, however, and officials in both countries wanted to see the shipments resume as soon as possible. Haitian officials have been working closely with APHIS to satisfy U.S. concerns about the fruit shipments.
An infestation of fruit flies could inflict major damage to agriculture in Florida and the rest of the United States, prompting the vigilance by APHIS.