Federal officials are seeking comments on whether to allow the importing of tomatoes with stems from South Korea. The comment deadline is May 16, according to a notice published March 15 in the Federal Register.
According to the notice from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Korea expects to annually export one 40-foot shipping container of fresh tomatoes with stems to the U.S. if the proposed rule is adopted. The APHIS notice states that would equal about 25 metric tons, which it contends is dwarfed by the total U.S. tomato supply, which was 2.5 million metric tons in 2009.
“Therefore, while the majority of domestic tomato farms are small, the impact of the proposed tomato imports from South Korea would be negligible,” states the notice in the Federal Register.
The imported tomatoes would be subject to strict growing, packing and shipping requirements.
The imported tomatoes would also be required to have phytosanitary certification.