California Tarping Regulations Delayed

Tacy CalliesCitrus, Regulation

tarpingA new tarping regulation for citrus loads was put on hold by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Ag leaders say the industry should still make plans to comply, since the rules will soon be enforced. An enforcement date has not been announced, but could come as soon as April 1.

The new regulation, which was supposed to go into effect March 1, requires all citrus loads traveling throughout the state to be fully covered with tarps or be hauled in fully enclosed containers. However, the implementation has changed. “The regulations were delayed. We still do not have a finalized date yet,” Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said.

“We’ve gotten questions like ‘Well, we only have 3 acres, and I can see the packing shed from here,’” she said. “Unless you have access by a dirt road to a packing shed, this requirement applies to everybody — fruit peddlers, guys with a bin of fruit in the back of their pickup, everybody.”

The tarping rule was reported to be temporarily halted because demand for tarps exceeded supply, which would have led to unequal, unfair and confusing enforcement procedures. But also, the CDFA was unable to process compliance agreements in time, creating uneven enforcement around the state.

Kinoshita said CDFA notified the industry that it needed more time to coordinate the compliance agreements. “This happened very, very quickly. In order to get all of those compliance agreements reissued with new requirements for moving citrus under tarps, they need more time,” she said.

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