(July 9, 11:25 a.m.) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced July 9 that kiwifruit growers in California voted to continue their federal marketing order program.

Of the eligible growers, 42% — representing 8% of the volume of kiwifruit shipped during the representative period — participated in the referendum. Of those voting, 70%, by number, and 47%, by volume, favored continuance of the order.

The marketing order requires a continuance referendum be held every six years between May 15 and June 15. For the order to continue, a majority of the growers — either voting in the referendum or representing a majority of the volume of these kiwifruit — must vote in favor of the order.

The marketing order authorizes grade, size, pack, container and container marking requirements for California kiwifruit. It requires that most containers be lot stamped and restricts the life of inspection certificates. Waivers of inspection and certification may be granted under certain, prearranged situations. In addition, minimum grade requirements established under the order are applied to imported kiwifruit.