Last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suspended Section 8e grapefruit juice content standards for imported grapefruit without warning. As a result, low-quality grapefruit products from abroad flooded the U.S. market, forcing domestic producers in Florida to compete against new volumes of low-cost and subsidized grapefruit imports.
That misguided decision resulted in millions of dollars in real economic harm to growers in Florida and Texas. In response, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a bipartisan letter in December 2021 to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack demanding answers and urging a reversal.
Due to Senator Rubio’s leadership, the USDA announced it will now enforce the juice content maturity requirements on imported grapefruit under Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 to protect American growers this harvest season, while collecting the necessary data to issue a new and lasting marketing order.
- “The USDA’s failure to protect Florida grapefruit growers during last year’s harvest season is inexcusable. Not only did it harm the local economy, but it threatened to undermine America’s food security.
- “While I am glad the USDA will finally enforce these standards to ensure low-quality grapefruit does not flood the market, our growers need lasting certainty. I remain committed to holding USDA to its word to issue a lasting marketing order.” – Senator Rubio
Looking ahead … The USDA’s enforcement will help prevent low-quality, subsidized grapefruit from displacing U.S. growers this harvest season. Rubio will continue efforts to provide certainty to domestic growers beyond the 2022-23 harvest season.
For more information: rubio.senate.gov