Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is advising the public of its decision to modify the conditions of importation for peppers from Korea. We have decided that the mesh size of screenings over vent openings can be increased from 0.6 mm to 1.6 mm, provided that sticky traps are used as an additional measure for pest monitoring. On April 20, 2018, APHIS published a proposed rule to amend the regulations to make this change. After reviewing comments received during the 60-day comment period, we determined that the change will still minimize the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States.
Publishing this final notice is one of several steps that must be completed before Korea may begin shipping peppers to the United States. APHIS and its Korean counterparts must now finalize the operational conditions Korea must meet for every U.S.-bound peppers shipment. APHIS will not issue import permits for Korean peppers until these steps are completed.
APHIS published the proposed rule to allow the importation of pepper fruit from Korea prior to a final rule effective October 15, 2018 that revised the import approval process. Previously, APHIS required proposed and final rules to allow a new commodity access to the U.S. market. Under the new system, APHIS will make a PRA and risk management document detailing pest mitigation measures available for public comment in the Federal Register, and—after carefully considering all comments received—announce its decision to allow the fruit or vegetable entry to the United States in a subsequent notice. For this reason we are finalizing this action with a notice rather than a final rule.