APHIS proposes allowing imports of Central American pitayaFederal regulators have proposed that fresh pitaya from Central America be approved for import to the continental U.S.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published the proposed rule and a request for comments in the May 24 Federal Register. Comments are due by July 25.

The proposed rule includes specific requirements that would have to be met during growing, harvesting, packing and shipping of the Central American pitaya to protect against the introduction of pests and diseases to the U.S.

The tropical fruit, commonly known as dragon fruit, is grown in Hawaii, California and Florida, but the Federal Register notice said the domestic production volumes are not known.

National plant protection organizations in seven Central American countries requested that APHIS amend regulations to allow pitaya from their countries to be sent to the U.S. Those countries are: Belize, Costa Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.