USDA expects to publish looser citrus shipping rules Tuesday

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects Tuesday to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would loosen restrictions on shipping citrus fruit infected with canker from Florida.

Under the rule, the state’s growers could once again ship fresh fruit to other citrus-producing areas, which is now prohibited. Fruit blemished by canker could also be shipped anywhere in the U.S.

The USDA will take comments on the proposed rule for 60 days.

The new rule is based on new research that shows canker is unlikely to be spread by diseased fruit. The bacterial disease causes ugly lesions on fruit but is not harmful to humans.

To submit or review comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0023. Or send copies of your comments to Docket

No. APHIS-2009-0023, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station

3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. Include the docket number APHIS-2009-0023 in the correspondence.

For more information call Stephen Poe, senior operations officer for emergency and domestic programs, for APHIS at 4700 River Road,

Unit 137, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1231. Or call (301) 734-4387.

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