On April 1, the US Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a statement modifying the restrictions on plums (Prunus domestica) imported into the United States from Chile to prevent the entry of the European vine moth (Lobesia botrana). The modifications of the import requirements are effective immediately.
Chilean plums have had access to the US market since 1933. Currently, most consignments are inspected at the port of export with APHIS oversight under a pre-clearance agreement between Chile and the United States.
The APHIS preclearance program in Chile intercepted a Lobesia botrana pupa on February 17, 2021, and a larva on February 23, 2021. Both interceptions were from plums produced in the Chilean region of General O’Higgins for export to the United States.
Given these detections, APHIS has determined that shipments of fresh plums destined for the United States from Chile pose a significant phytosanitary risk to the United States domestic fruit industry, especially grapes, due to the presence of Lobestia botrana in Chile’s fruit production areas.
To mitigate the risk posed by this pest, all Chilean plum shipments to the United States must be treated with an APHIS-approved treatment. Current treatment options include irradiation with a minimum absorbed dose of 400 Gy upon arrival in the United States or methyl bromide fumigation in accordance with APHIS treatment regulations in Chile under the preclearance program.
Fumigation can be conducted in Chile until the end of the Chilean plum shipping season, and no later than May 31, 2021.
The European Grapevine moth is native to Europe and primarily attacks grape flowers and fruit, but it has several other hosts. In Europe, this pest caused significant damage to grape crops and forced producers to incur expensive control costs.
This pest was detected in Chilean grape crops in April 2008 and some Chilean producers reported losses of up to 70% of their grape harvests. In 2009 it became established in California. Its eradication there took 7 years of work and cost more than $100,000,000.