Colombia Gains U.S. Access for Hass Avocado

  • Aug 15, 2017

On August 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a final rule to allow fresh Hass avocado fruit from Colombia into the continental United States. APHIS released the first draft of the Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) for Colombia Hass avocado for comment in June 2012, at which time the California Avocado Commission (Commission) requested and received an extension to provide comments. After a thorough review by Commission staff and University of California scientists, the Commission submitted comments to APHIS in 2013 identifying potential pest threats and the importance of identifying and maintaining mitigation steps. As you will read in the APHIS announcement below, the agreement requires utilization and certification of an ongoing “systems approach designed to ensure imports do not introduce pests into the United States.”

According to the Colombian Agricultural Institute there are744 registered Hass avocado production sites with a total of just over 14,000 acres. It’s believed there are approximately 33,500 total acres of Hass avocados in Colombia, including non-registered acres. Export volume for 2016 was about 40 million pounds, with the majority going to the European market. Harvest season typically runs from December through April. A copy of the APHIS announcement is below:

APHIS Publishes Final Rule to Allow Fresh Hass Avocado Fruit from Colombia into the Continental United States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule to allow the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit from Colombia into the continental United States using a systems approach designed to ensure imports do not introduce pests into the United States.

The systems approach is a series of overlapping measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers that, in combination minimize pest risks prior to importation into the United States. In this case, the approved systems approach for avocados from Colombia will include, but is not limited to, the following: grove and packinghouse certification, monthly inspections for registered groves during the harvest and shipping seasons, grove pest control and sanitation requirements, and inspection at the port of entry.

In October 2016, APHIS published a proposed rule to amend APHIS regulations to allow the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit from Colombia into the continental United States provided that the fruit is produced in accordance with a systems approach. The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on August 15, 2017, and will become active 30 days after publication, or on September 14, 2017.

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