U.S. lifts restrictions on Moroccan citrus imports
The export of citrus to the U.S. resumed on October 13. The discovery of the Mediterranean fruit fly led to an outright suspension of the citrus imports, as this fly species is considered one of the most destructive pests in the world.
Last January, the Moroccan Health Security Office of Foodstuffs (ONSSA) began a series of meetings with citrus professionals and a series of procedures to address the concerns of US Phytosanitary Authorities (APHIS).
The efforts of ONSSA resulted in the establishment of a program, in cooperation with APHIS, consisting of operational action to manage the fly.
The program, to which all citrus professionals “Maroc Citrus” adhered, was signed last June and included additional phytosanitary measures to eliminate the presence of the fly in the exported citrus.
According to the French-speaking news source Le360, U.S. authorities carried out a number of audits within Moroccan production sites.
The positive audit results encouraged the US authorities to lift the suspension of the citrus imports, which are expected to be effective this week. ■