In 2006, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a landmark rule providing generic radiation quarantine treatments. The rule approved radiation doses of 150 Gy for any tephritid fruit fly and 400 Gy for all other insects except the pupa and adult stages of Lepidoptera. The generic radiation treatments apply to all fresh horticultural commodities. Therefore, if a pest risk assessment demonstrates that no pupae or adult Lepidoptera are associated with a commodity, export approval can be forthcoming with no further research. Generic treatments are the culmination of decades of research but not an end point. Future research on quarantine and phytosanitary uses of radiation should focus on 1) development of specific doses for quarantine Lepidoptera not covered by the generic treatments, 2) reduction of dose levels for specific pests and commodities to shorten treatment time and minimize any deleterious effects of radiation treatment on commodity quality, 3) development of generic doses below 400 Gy for important groups of quarantine arthropods other than fruit flies, and 4) development of information on commodity tolerance and development of value-added irradiated fresh products that use generic radiation treatments. Generic treatments will facilitate safe trade between countries that have approved phytosanitary uses of radiation for fresh agricultural commodities.
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Vol. 102 • No. 4