Court ruling: US farmers unable to keep Argentine citrus at bay

In 1947, the United States banned Argentine lemons, due to plant pests and diseases there. The Argentinian government was accused of not reporting disease outbreaks, particularly citrus black spot, which has devastated the citrus industry in Florida. But in May of 2017, this decision was reversed by the Trump administration.

The U.S. Citrus Science Council and five growers sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Sonny Perdue this past May, claiming they ignored science and made a politically motivated decision to lift the ban on Argentine citrus.

According to the growers’ lawsuit, the USDA did not analyse how many lemons Argentina will export or how it might affect the U.S. citrus industry. Argentina is the biggest lemon producer in the world and would ship up to 22,000 tons of lemons to the United States each year, according to the Buenos Aires Herald.

However, reports that last Tuesday U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill ruled that the U.S. government wasn’t purely motivated by foreign policy concerns when it lifted a ban on lemon imports from Argentina, finding for the U.S. government.

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