Rubio leads bipartisan Florida, Texas members in urging USDA to reverse decision that harms American grapefruit growers

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rick Scott (R-FL) led members of the Florida and Texas Congressional Delegations to urge the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack to reverse the Department’s unjustified decision to administratively suspend juice content standards for imported grapefruits, and to request information regarding the circumstances of the suspension, which was made without a proper rulemaking process, and for which Congress was not notified. 

Following the suspension of grapefruit juice content standards, Texas A&M University found in November 2021, that more than 85 percent of grapefruits imported from Mexico in September and October would have “failed quality standards and been rejected,” if not for the suspension of juice content standards by Secretary Vilsack. 

“The suspension of grapefruit juice standards for imported grapefruits poses a serious threat to American growers and undermines their ability to compete in the American market at a pivotal time. In recent months and years, our grapefruit growers have been severely impacted by natural disasters and citrus diseases,” the members wrote.

“Now, this suspension allows low quality grapefruit products to flood our market, and forces our growers to compete against low-cost, subsidized imports. This regulatory patch is discriminatory in nature, as substandard grapefruit products can now be imported, meanwhile, American-grown grapefruits must still meet juice content standards. Additionally, as these imported grapefruits are of poor quality due to their low juice content, American consumers may become averse to purchasing grapefruits, as the substandard imported products could adversely impact the entire market due to unmet consumer expectations.” 

“The core mission of USDA is to promote and support American agricultural producers, not to disadvantage them by creating unfair advantages for foreign growers.  As such, we urge you to immediately reinstate juice content standards for imported grapefruits,” the members added. 

Representatives from both sides of the isle signed the letter. 

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