The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on March 9 announced a change to the Florida citrus marketing order that exempts pummelos from all marketing order requirements.
The change was made at the recommendation of the Citrus Administrative Committee (CAC), which administers the order. The committee, comprised primarily of growers and handlers of fresh citrus, made the recommendation in November 2021. The change becomes effective April 10.
The Florida citrus industry voted to incorporate pummelos into the marketing order when the order was amended in 2016, as pummelos were being used to develop new citrus hybrids. However, there are not yet any pummelo hybrid varieties produced in commercial volume. The current market for pummelos is small, estimated at 100,000 boxes, or 200,000 cartons. In comparison, the entire Florida citrus industry shipped over 6 million cartons of other fresh citrus commodities during the 2020–21 season.
The marketing order regulates shipments of fresh citrus leaving the state of Florida for grade and size.
There are currently no quality requirements in effect for pummelos or pummelo hybrids under the marketing order, nor are there any state requirements. As a result, there is no inspection and therefore no established method of data collection for pummelos.
Since the marketing order was amended in 2016, CAC staff have been in contact with pummelo growers and handlers, working on a way to collect required information and assessments. Under the current order requirements and industry practices, there is no uniform way to meet the requirements without creating a specific reporting requirement for pummelos. In addition, pummelo growers and shippers have communicated to the CAC that they would like to be excluded from order requirements.
The CAC reports that there are only six pummelo producers and three shippers, most of whom are small grower-shippers not handling any other citrus covered under the order.
CAC members indicated that with the volume for pummelo and pummelo hybrids remaining stagnant, there is currently no desire to establish grade and size requirements on pummelo at the state or federal level.
The CAC could consider removing this exemption if conditions change over time.
More information about the change can be obtained from Jennie Varela or Christian Nissen at AMS by calling 863-324-3375.
See the full rule in the Federal Register here.
Source: Federal Register
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