USDA to Enforce Imported Grapefruit Standards

Josh McGill Grapefruit, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will enforce the juice content maturity requirements on imported grapefruit. USDA will also collect the necessary data to issue a new and lasting marketing order regarding the imported grapefruit.


Last fall, the USDA suspended Section 8e grapefruit juice content standards for imported grapefruit without warning. As a result, low-quality grapefruit products from abroad flooded the U.S. market, forcing domestic producers to compete against new volumes of low-cost and subsidized imports. That decision resulted in millions of dollars in economic harm to growers in Florida and Texas.
In response, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida led a bipartisan letter in December 2021 to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack demanding answers and urging a reversal.

“The USDA’s failure to protect Florida grapefruit growers during last year’s harvest season is inexcusable,” Rubio said. “Not only did it harm the local economy, but it threatened to undermine America’s food security. While I am glad the USDA will finally enforce these standards to ensure low-quality grapefruit does not flood the market, our growers need lasting certainty. I remain committed to holding USDA to its word to issue a lasting marketing order.”

Following the USDA’s decision to enforce the imported grapefruit standards, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) CEO Matt Joyner said, “This is a much-needed victory just in time for the start of the harvest season.” Joyner added that FCM worked with Florida Citrus Packers, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and citrus associations in Texas and California to persuade the USDA to enforce the standards.

“The reinstatement of the requirement is a temporary fix for the upcoming season alone,” Joyner added. “Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves for a long-term solution.”

About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large

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