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United States, Thailand Sign Agreement On Irradiation of Fruits and Vegetables

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service traveled to Thailand this week to sign a joint Framework Equivalency Work Plan (FEWP) that paves the way for the use of irradiation to safeguard imported fruits and vegetables against quarantine pests.

APHIS has initiated the rulemaking process to allow the importation of six irradiated fruits from Thailand : mango, mangosteen, pineapple, rambutan, litchi and longan. In reciprocation, Thailand will allow the importation of irradiated U.S. agriculture commodities, such as citrus.

USDA’s irradiation regulation has been in place since 2002. The regulation recognizes irradiation as an accepted quarantine treatment and sets established guidelines for its use. The regulation requires that the United States and each foreign trading country adopt a mutually approved FEWP. This work plan is the first step in the process and establishes the mutual recognition of the general conditions for each country to allow for the trade of irradiated agricultural commodities.

In recent years, irradiation treatment has become the most promising, single-treatment quarantine alternative to methyl bromide. APHIS and the International Plant Protection Convention, as well as many other international organizations and countries agree that irradiation of fruits and vegetables is a safe and effective form of treatment for the elimination of pests and does not pose a threat to human health.

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