USA’s APHIS lifts the ban on citrus imports coming from Berkane

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The U.S is to lift a ban it imposed on citrus imports coming from the Berkane region, reports on Tuesday Fresh Fruit Portal. The embargo on Moroccan tangerines, clementines, mandarins and sweet orange was put when the country detected Mediterranean fruit fly, known as Medfly, in the imports in December 2016.

According to the same source, the ban imposed by the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency (APHIS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture responsible for protecting animal health, animal welfare, and plant health, was implemented after Medfly Larvae, a species of fruit fly capable of causing extensive damage to a wide range of fruit crops, was found in Berkane citrus at a U.S. port of entry.

As reported by Fresh Fruit Portal, the U.S. APHIS said that «in October 2017, APHIS personnel conducted a site visit to examine places of production, packinghouses, means of conveyance, and port of export in the Berkane Region of Morocco».

«Following the site visit, APHIS and Morocco’s national plant protection organization (ONSSA) modified the OWP to include additional safeguards in orchard surveying and fruit cutting protocols, and procedures for pre-cooling and temperature readings at packinghouses and upon loading at the port of export. APHIS determined that the new measures specified in the OWP effectively mitigate the pest risk and the Federal Order can safely be removed.»

Now all citrus imports coming from Morocco can be sold and consumed in the USA. For the record, between October and December 2017, Berkane exported 13,600 metric tons (MT) to Russia, 10,600MT to Europe, 3,400MT to Canada and 300MT to other destinations, increasing exports by a 12% a year.

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