The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending its regulations to allow the cold treatment of imported fruits and vegetables upon arrival at the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill., effective Nov. 25.
“We have determined that there are biological barriers at this port that, along with certain safeguards, would prevent the introduction of fruit flies and other insect pests into the United States in the unlikely event that they escape from shipments of fruits or vegetables before the fruits or vegetables undergo cold treatment,” the agency said.
Most imported fruits or vegetables that require cold treatment undergo that treatment while in transit to the United States. However, APHIS allows fresh produce imports to undergo this treatment at an approved cold treatment facility in either the country of origin or after arrival in the United States at a cold storage warehouse approved by the agency.
Cold treatment facilities in the United States have been approved and operate in maritime ports of Wilmington, N.C.; Seattle; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Gulfport, Miss.; and at the airports of Seattle-Tacoma International and Hartsfield-Atlanta International.