USDA Revising Texas Citrus Grades

Ernie NeffRegulation

florida citrus

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA/AMS) is revising the U.S. Standards for Grades of Grapefruit and the U.S. Standards for Grades of Oranges. The revision, effective Nov. 30, applies only to Texas and states other than Florida, California and Arizona.

The revision will convert the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) tables from showing the acceptable number of allowable defective fruit in each grade to showing the percentage of defects permitted in each grade. It will also revise the minimum sample size to 25 fruit; update size classifications; remove references to Temple oranges from the orange standards for grade; and more closely align terminology in both grade standards with Florida and California citrus standards.

On Sept. 20, 2016, AMS received a request from the Texas Valley Citrus Committee (TVCC) to modernize the language of and clarify the Texas citrus standards by removing outdated AQL tables in the federal marketing order for fresh Texas citrus. The TVCC administers that marketing order. The standards were last revised in September 2003.

On May 23, 2018, AMS met with the TVCC to review the proposed revisions. These efforts culminated with the TVCC submitting a petition to AMS on June 12, 2018 to revise the U.S. standards for Texas oranges and grapefruit as discussed and approved at the May 2018 meeting.  

AMS worked closely with the TVCC throughout the development of the proposed revisions, soliciting comments and suggestions about the standards through discussion drafts that outlined the conversion from AQL tables to a defined percentage of defects permitted in each grade.

The revised percentages correspond to those currently allowed in the AQL tables and more closely align with California and Florida orange and grapefruit standards.

There are approximately 170 producers of grapefruit and oranges in the production area and 22 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order administered by the TVCC.

See the revised standard here.

Source: USDA/AMS

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