I was reading about the US Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program. The latest port in this program, and highlighted in this article, is the Port of Virginia. Other participating ports are New Orleans and Port Canaveral – also mentioned in this article are Port Manatee and Port Tampa Bay.
The pilot allows entry of in-transit, cold-treated containers of agricultural products originating in South America, including blueberries, citrus, and grapes from Peru; blueberries and grapes from Uruguay; and, apples, blueberries and pears from Argentina.
You may have noticed a simlarity in these ports. Previous programs required that the fruit be sent to northern ports to be handled and then distributed to the US southern states.
The USDA Southeast In-transit Cold Treatment Pilot enables a limited number of containerized cargoes to enter the port directly after completing a two-week cold treatment process as a safeguard against fruit flies and other pests, as well as acquiring all the required unloading clearances prior to the shipment’s arrival in port.
Cold treatment is a process whereby perishable fruits have their pulp brought to a certain temperature for a period of time in order to fulfill USDA quarantine requirements for fruits and vegetables entering the US. Containers that do not pass cold treatment will be prohibited from entering the port and will not be offloaded from vessels. Instead, failed containers will be allowed transit via sea to a northeast port for retreatment, or, they will be re-exported to the country of origin.