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  September 16th, 2015 | Written by

Port Manatee Eyes USDA Cold Product Import Program

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  • The USDA program offers U.S. consumers fresher products than those that follow routes to northern ports.
  • USDA pilot began in 2013 with cold-treated grapes and blueberries from Peru and Uruguay to South Florida ports.
  • USDA pilot was recently expanded to include citrus from Peru and blueberries, apples and pears from Argentina.

Florida’s Port Manatee has gained federal approval to receive direct imports of select cold-treated South American produce and fruit via an expanding pilot program.

Port Manatee could begin participation in the Florida Perishables Trade Coalition pilot program as early as October 1, based on the approval recently granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“We’re enthusiastic about the opportunities our participation in this pilot program offers as Port Manatee looks to advance as Florida’s leading on-dock cold storage port,” said Port Manatee’s Executive Director, Carlos Buqueras.

Thanks to new technologies for shipboard cold treatment, “it is no longer necessary for ships to take South American fruit to northern climates to alleviate pest concerns,” he said.

The new program, Buqueras added, “can offer U.S. consumers fresher, more economical products than those that follow the traditional routes to Philadelphia and other ports north of the 39th parallel.”

The pilot program was initiated in fall 2013 with allowance of imports of cold-treated grapes and blueberries from Peru and Uruguay into ports of South Florida’s Miami Dade and Broward counties.

The program was recently expanded to include imported citrus from Peru, as well as blueberries, apples and pears from Argentina.