South Korean oranges that have been banned from the mainland U.S.
since 2002 could be allowed back in.

Under a proposed
rule
from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service, fresh unshu oranges would be allowed back in
the U.S., according to the June 8 Federal Register.

Unshus are a mandarin citrus variety similar to imported satsumas and U.S.-grown tangerines. Japan is the major supplier of unshus to the U.S.

Since 2005, unshus have only been allowed into Alaska. Fears over citrus canker and sweet orange scab led to their banishment from the U.S. in 2002.

But after a recent pest risk assessment, APHIS concluded that the risk of citrus canker and sweet orange scab occurring in Korean unshus was only “medium,” clearing the way for their importation into the U.S. under a strict phytosanitary protocol.

The proposed rule would harmonize citrus canker-related regulations on import fruit with those governing interstate movement of U.S. domestic fruit.

In October, APHIS amended the conditions under which fruit may be moved in the U.S. from an area quarantined for canker by removing restrictions the government no longer deemed necessary.

APHIS will review all comments on the proposed rule that are submitted on or before Aug. 9. It will then make a decision whether to issue a final rule, which would clear the way for South Korean unshu imports.