7 CFR § 980.212 - Import regulations; tomatoes.

§ 980.212 Import regulations; tomatoes.
Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 12995, Mar. 6, 2020.

(a) Findings and determinations with respect to fresh tomatoes.

(1) Under Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), it is hereby found that:

(i) Grade, size, quality and maturity regulations have been issued from time to time under Marketing Order No. 966, as amended;

(ii) The marketing of fresh tomatoes from Florida covered by Marketing Order No. 966, as amended, can reasonably be expected to occur during the months of October through June;

(2) Therefore, it is hereby determined that imports of fresh tomatoes during the months of October through June are in most direct competition with the marketing of fresh tomatoes produced in Florida covered by Marketing Order No. 966, as amended.

(b) Grade, size, quality and maturity requirements. On and after the effective date hereof no person may import fresh tomatoes except pear shaped, cherry, hydroponic and greenhouse tomatoes as defined herein, unless they are inspected and meet the following requirements:

(1) From October 10 through June 15 of each season, tomatoes offered for importation shall be at least 2 9/32 inches in diameter. Not more than 10 percent, by count, in any lot may be smaller than the minimum specified diameter. All lots of tomatoes shall be at least U.S. No. 2 grade. Provided, That UglyRipe TM and Vintage Ripes TM tomatoes shall be graded and at least meet the requirements specified for U.S. No. 2 under the U.S. Standards for Grades of Fresh Tomatoes, except they are exempt from the requirements that they be reasonably well formed and not more than slightly rough, and Provided, Further that the UglyRipe TM and Vintage Ripes TM tomatoes meet the requirements of the Identity Preservation program, Fresh Products Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA.

(2) - (3) [Reserved]

(c) Minimum quantity exemption. Any importation which in the aggregate does not exceed 60 pounds may be imported without regard to the provisions of this section.

(d) Plant quarantine. Provisions of this section shall not supersede the restrictions or prohibitions on tomatoes under the Plant Quarantine Act of 1912.

(e) Designation of governmental inspection service. The Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food of Plant Origin Division, Plant Products Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are hereby designated as governmental inspection services for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality, and maturity of tomatoes that are imported, or to be imported, into the United States under the provisions of section 8e of the Act.

(f) Inspection and official inspection certificates.

(1) An official inspection certificate certifying the tomatoes meet the United States import requirements for tomatoes under Section 8e (7 U.S.C. 608e-1), issued by a designated governmental inspection service and applicable to a specified lot is required on all imports of fresh tomatoes.

(2) Inspection and certification by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service will be available and performed in accordance with the rules and regulations governing certification of fresh fruits, vegetables and other products (7 CFR part 51). Each lot shall be made available and accessible for inspection as provided therein. Cost of inspection and certification shall be borne by the applicant.

(3) Since the inspectors may not be stationed in the immediate vicinity of some smaller ports of entry, importers should make advance arrangements for inspection by ascertaining whether or not there is an inspector located at their particular port of entry. For all ports of entry where an inspection office is not located, each importer must give the specified advance notice to the applicable office listed below prior to the time the tomatoes will be imported.

Ports Office Advance notice (days)
All Texas points Officer-in-charge, 1301 West Expressway, Alamo, Tex. 78516, phone 512-787-4091 or 6881 1
All Arizona points Officer-in-charge, P.O. Box 1614, Nogales, Ariz. 85621, phone 602-287-2902 1
All California points Officer-in-charge, 784 South Central Ave., room 266, Los Angeles, Calif. 90021, phone 213-688-2489 1
All Hawaii points Officer-in-charge, P.O. Box 22159, Pawaa substation, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, phone 808-941-3071 1
All Puerto Rico points Officer-in-charge, P.O. Box 9112, Santurce, P.R. 00908, phone 809-783-2230 or 4116 2
New York, N.Y Officer-in-charge, room 28A, Hunts Point Market, Bronx, N.Y. 10474, phone 212-991-7669 or 7668 1
New Orleans, La Officer-in-charge, 5027 U.S. Postal Service Bldg., 701 Loyola Ave., New Orleans La. 70113, phone 504-589-6741 or 6742 1
Miami, Fla Officer-in-charge, 1350 Northwest 12th Ave., room 530, Miami, Fla. 33136, phone 305-324-6116 or 6117 1
All other Florida points Officer-in-charge, P.O. Box 1232, Winter Haven, Fla. 33880, phone 813-294-3511, ext. 33 1
All other points Chief, Fresh Products Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Quality Division, Food Safety and Quality Service, Washington, DC 20250, phone 202-447-5870 3

(4) Inspection certificates shall cover only the quantity of tomatoes that is being imported at a particular port of entry by a particular importer.

(5) Each inspection certificate issued with respect to any tomatoes to be imported into the United States shall set forth, among other things:

(i) The date and place of inspection;

(ii) The name of the shipper, or applicant;

(iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment covered by the certificate;

(iv) The commodity inspected;

(v) The quantity of the commodity covered by the certificate;

(vi) The principal identifying marks on the containers;

(vii) The railroad car initials and number, the truck and trailer license number, the name of the vessel, or other identification of the shipment; and

(viii) The following statement, if the facts warrant: Meets import requirements of 7 U.S.C. 608e-1.

(g) Reconditioning prior to importation. Nothing contained in this part shall be deemed to preclude any importer from reconditioning prior to importation any shipment of tomatoes for the purpose of making it eligible for importation.

(h) Definitions. For the purpose of this section, Importation means release from custody of the United States Bureau of Customs. Cherry tomatoes means cerasiform types commonly referred to as “cherry tomatoes.” Pear shaped tomatoes means elongated types, commonly referred to as pear shaped or paste tomatoes and include San Marzano, Red Top and Roma varieties. Hydroponic tomatoes means tomatoes grown in solution without soil. Greenhouse tomatoes means tomatoes grown indoors. The terms relating to grade and size, as used herein, shall have the same meaning as when used in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Fresh Tomatoes (7 CFR 51.1855 through 51.1877).

(i) Exemptions. The grade, size, quality and maturity requirements of this section shall not apply to tomatoes for charity, relief, canning or pickling, but such tomatoes shall be subject to the safeguard provisions contained in § 980.501. Processing includes canning and pickling.

[42 FR 55192, Oct. 14, 1977, as amended at 43 FR 3349, Jan. 25, 1978; 57 FR 27352, June 19, 1992; 58 FR 69189, Dec. 30, 1993; 61 FR 13060, Mar. 26, 1996; 63 FR 12401, Mar. 13, 1998; 72 FR 2172, Jan. 18, 2007; 74 FR 2808, Jan. 16, 2009; 74 FR 45736, Sept. 4, 2009; 74 FR 65394, Dec. 10, 2009; 81 FR 87412, Dec. 5, 2016]