The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is preparing a pest risk analysis that evaluates the risks associated with the importation of fresh melon with stems from Japan into the U.S. Based on the analysis, USDA is proposing to revise the existing conditions for importations of melons from Japan, which currently don't allow the importation of melons with stems and which do not authorize importation to the continental U.S. or most territories.

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a request from the national plant protection organization of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to revise the current import requirements and allow the importation of fresh melon fruits with stems into the entire United States. If USDA approves the request, the mitigation measures developed would supersede current importation requirements for fresh cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and melon from Japan.

USDA is making the pest risk analysis available to the public for review and comment for 60 days. The public can submit comments one of two ways:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to Enter APHIS-2020-0100 in the Search field. Select the Documents tab, then select the Comment button in the list of documents.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2020- 0100, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Under the regulations in "Subpart L–Fruits and Vegetables" (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-12), APHIS prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and vegetables into the U.S. from certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced into or disseminated within the U.S.

Currently, fresh melon fruit (Cucumis melo L.) from Japan is listed in APHIS’ Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements database as fruit authorized for importation into Hawaii, and fresh cantaloupe fruit (Cucumis melo ssp. melo var. cantalupensis) and honeydew melon (Cucumis melo ssp. melo var. inodorus) are authorized for importation into Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands from areas of Japan other than Amami, Bonin, Ryukyu, Tokara, and Volcano Islands. To be eligible for importation under the current requirements, the melon fruit must be certified as being hothouse grown on or north of Honshu Island and is subject to inspection at the U.S. port of entry.