Comment period open un USDA phytosanitary policy regarding importation of Chilean fresh grapes

Passing this on from Vermont state entomologist Judy Rosowsky. My take, supported by Judy, is that this is a reasonable approach toward elimination of one of the remaining uses of a chemical that has good reason to be removed from use worldwide. We agree, as do the officials at USDA we’ve met with, that this approach presents little to no risk to the region’s grape and wine producers. -TB

This is a notification to the grape growers in Vermont of some upcoming regulatory changes in the procedures for importing grapes from Chile. Chile is host to the grape pest European Grapevine moth, aka EGVM, Lobesia botrana.

The USDA is proposing to phase out methyl bromide fumigation, which has been a primary means of treatment for grapes from Chile imported into the US. They would like to use a systems approach to phytosanitation in cooperation with Chilean grape producers or allow them to treat exported grapes using radiation.

These proposed changes were about to be posted on the Federal registry for public comment, but feedback from the US grape industry, especially form those in California, led them to amend their process. The proposed changes are posted at: Comments in writing are solicited and are due by March 29th.

This website will house the pest risk analysis for the EGVM and the commodity import document. USDA would like feedback from industry on the suggested changes in treatment options and anything else related to this process. USDA will host a webinar on Feb 23rd that will be targeted towards industry and will review the systems approach. Participants in the webinar will include the Chilean Plant Protection Association and USDA APHIS folks but will not include Chilean growers. There will be a Q&A session on March 2nd. If you are interested in attending either the webinar or the Q&A session, or if you know anyone who does, please let me know and I will send you the USDA contact.

If you have concerns about the import treatment option changes, please let me know, as I can help facilitate a response. If you know of anyone else I can alert about this, please send them my way. In my professional opinion the systems approach or radiation treatments are acceptable options to methyl bromide fumigation.

Thank you,

Judy Rosovsky

State Entomologist