Jul 18, 2019
USDA drops grade standards for peaches, nectarines, apricots

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on July 16 rolled out a final rule that removes voluntary U.S. grade standards for fresh peaches, nectarines and apricots from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

AMS removed from 7 CFR Part 51 the U.S. standards for seven fruits and vegetables: apricots, cantaloupes, celery, honey dew/honey ball type melons, nectarines, peaches and Persian (Tahiti) limes, according to a press release. AMS also removed the U.S. Consumer Standards for celery stalks.

None of the eight voluntary standards removed from the CFR are related to a current active marketing order, import regulation or export act, according to AMS. The final rule, published in the Federal Register on July 16, 2019, adopts a previously published interim rule without change.

According to the final rule, “No comments were received on the interim rule by the April 2, 2019 due date, so AMS is adopting the interim rule as a final rule, without change, for the reasons given in the interim rule.”

This action is being taken as part of USDA’s work to remove regulations that impose costs that exceed benefits. Removal of the standards from the CFR will eliminate the cost of printing them annually.

These voluntary standards and all subsequent revisions or new standards for these products will continue to be administered and cataloged by AMS and will be available for use by producers, handlers, marketers and buyers. Any proposed, new or revised voluntary standards will appear in the Federal Register with the opportunity for public comment.

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