The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has recently amended its regulations
to allow the import of fresh bananas from the Philippines to the U.S. mainland.
The agency said these bananas must be produced with a "systems approach" that includes requirements for importation of commercial consignments, monitoring of fruit flies to establish low-prevalence places of production, harvesting only hard green bananas, and inspection for quarantine pests by the national plant protection organization of the Philippines.
The bananas must also be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they were grown, packed, and inspected and found free of quarantine pests.
The agency said Hawaii’s banana growers will not be affected by the rule, since Philippine bananas will not be imported into the state.
"The United States is clearly a minor producer but a major importer of bananas,” USDA said. “Compared to the volume of current imports, the quantity of bananas expected to be imported from the Philippines is negligible.”