USDA Proposes Changes in the Handling Requirements for Florida Tomatoes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing changes to the handling requirements under the federal marketing order for tomatoes grown in Florida. The Florida Tomato Committee recommended a proposal to eliminate the standard weight certification requirement from the marketing order regulations.

In making their recommendation, the committee stated that providing the necessary labor to properly administer the certification program is expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, tomato handlers outside the regulated area are not required to maintain standard weight certification. For these reasons, the committee believes there is no longer enough benefit to justify the cost and time required for certification.

The proposed rule for this action was published in the Federal Register April 16, 2019. Written comments must be received by May 16, 2019.

Submit formal written comments concerning the proposed change at, fax them to (202) 720-8938 or mail them to:

Docket Clerk
Marketing Order and Agreement Division
Specialty Crops Program
Agricultural Marketing Service
STOP 0237
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250-0237

All comments submitted by the deadline will be made available for public review and considered before any reporting requirements or information collection are finalized.

More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of tomatoes produced in Florida is available on the 966 Florida Tomatoes page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. AMS provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements to ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about federal marketing orders is available on the Marketing Orders and Agreementspage of the AMS website or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.