Mar 19, 2020
Inspections set under suspension agreement on fresh tomatoes from Mexico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 18 issued a reminder that the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will begin inspections of tomatoes coming into the United States from Mexico at border locations on April 4, 2020. The inspections are in accordance with the requirements of the Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico, negotiated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA).

AMS will inspect all Mexican grape tomatoes in bulk, and all Mexican round and Roma tomatoes, including stem-on, for quality and condition upon their entry into the United States from Mexico. Importers must request an AMS inspection when the load is available for inspection and pay the associated fees. Tomatoes on the Vine, specialty tomatoes, and grape tomatoes in retail packages of 2 pounds or less are excluded from the inspection requirement.

AMS will also provide inspections of all tomatoes covered by the Suspension Agreement at destination locations, upon request. These inspections are offered on a user-fee basis. Importers should use the AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Division contact directory to schedule an inspection.

The Suspension Agreement was finalized on Sept. 19, 2019, by DOC and Mexican tomato producers and exporters, who account for substantially all imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico.

Details about the inspections are available in DOC’s 2019 Suspension Agreement Inspection FAQs.

The Suspension Agreement is separate from and does not affect Section 8e import requirements for tomatoes. Loads of fresh tomatoes from Mexico that are inspected in accordance with USDA Section 8e import requirements meet the requirements of the Suspension Agreement.

Detailed information on the Suspension Agreement’s scope and Section 8e import requirements, are available in AMS’s Frequently Asked Questions: Section 8E Regulations and the Tomato Suspension Agreement.

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