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USDA revises regulations for checking Florida citrus shipments

USDA revises regulations for checking Florida citrus shipments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday revised the regulations for the movement of citrus fruit from Florida, ending the requirement for pre-harvest grove inspections for citrus meant for interstate movements, and implementing new requirements to instead sample each lot of citrus at the packinghouse to ensure the fruit is free of the plant disease citrus canker.

   The changes came out of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), after a recent risk management analysis indicated that mandatory packinghouse inspections provide an effective safeguard against the spread of citrus canker.

   'Despite the fact that Florida is dealing with a serious citrus disease, USDA in cooperation with the state and industry has developed a science-based solution to preserve Florida's vital citrus market while continuing to protect against the spread of this disease,' said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area. 'As Congress works on the 2007 farm bill, USDA will continue to push for science-based regulatory approaches that create opportunities for specialty crop producers, such as citrus growers, to expand market opportunities here in the United States and abroad.'

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