USDA Proposes Revising U.S. Standards for Watermelon

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to revise the U.S. Standards for Watermelon to provide a common language for trade.

In October 2019, the National Watermelon Association (NWA), a trade association representing growers, retailers, and shippers from 30 U.S. states, Canada, and Central America, petitioned the USDA to revise the watermelon standards and update the official USDA visual aids library. Revisions to their request were made in November 2020.

AMS is proposing to include Anthracnose in the decay tolerance in the U.S. No. 1 and U.S. No. 2 grades; adjust the range of average weight from 20-42 to 10-34 pounds; add sunburn as a permanent defect; revise scoring guides for hail, rind worm injury, scars, hollow heart, sunburn, and transit rubs; remove metric measurements from the standard; and make minor editorial changes.

The notice of the proposed revisions was published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2021. Written comments must be received by May 10, 2021. Comments should be submitted online at, faxed to (540) 361-1199, or mailed to the USDA, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 22406.

Copies of the proposed revised U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelon are available at Copies of the current U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelon are available on the AMS website.

For more information, contact David Horner at 540-361-1128 or