Californian lemon growers have filed a suit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its recent ruling to allow lemon imports from Argentina.
In a press release, the US Citrus Science Council, which represents the majority of the state’s growers, said the move exposes US citrus growers to the possible introduction of invasive pests and plant disease.
In December the USDA announced that it would end its 16-year ban but issued a 60-day stay on the decision following Trump’s inauguration in January, which it subsequently extended by another 60 days. The new rule will take effect form 26 May.
The lawsuit argues that proper procedures were not followed to develop the rule and that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
The first hearing is scheduled for 27 July. Joel Nelsen, California president of Citrus Mutual, said the lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Fresno, is not injunctive, and cannot therefore prevent the ruling from being enacted by the federal government while it is heard.