Chile has moved a step closer to being able to ship table grapes to the US under a Systems Approach following the publication by USDA-APHIS of a Pest Risk Analysis Proposal (PRA).

If approved, exporters will no longer be forced to apply methyl bromide fumigation on shipments to the US.

The proposal is out for public comment until March 29, 2022, after which the final standard will be published.

“Although there is still some way to go to reach the final standard, this publication makes us happy, as it shows that progress is being made on the authorisation to export table grapes from northern Chile under a systems approach,” said Miguel Canala-Echeverría, general manager of Asoex.

“This will replace the application of a quarantine treatment, ensuring a better condition and competitiveness for our grapes in the US market.”

Asoex president Ronald Bown said preparations are already underway for when the export of fresh grapes to the US under the Systems Approach becomes a reality.

“We have also supported the preparation of grape producers and exporters, carried out inspection tests on table grapes and are planning to open a Phytosanitary Inspection Site for this purpose,” he said.

APHIS said:'While Chile already has market access for grapes, this PRA was requested by the Plant Protection Quarantine area of APHIS to determine the current pests that would be associated with the pathway as candidates for mitigation in support of developing a systems approach that does not include methyl bromide as a treatment'.

'In preparing this PRA, we did not consider any washing or pest mitigations during the pathway. The pest risk ratings depend on the application of all conditions of the pathway as described in this document. Grape clusters produced under different conditions were not evaluated and may pose a different pest risk.'