By MARK BELLMANAssociated PressFlowers that have been harvested for use as food or for human consumption should not be exposed to disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says.
In a release Tuesday, USDA announced that all flower production facilities that harvest flower from the United States, Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean must adhere to new requirements to avoid disease outbreaks.
The guidelines require that all production facilities maintain quality control measures, which include regular testing of flowers, and a plan to identify outbreaks.
Flies and plants collected from plants in the U and Canada are not subject to quarantine.
The United States also will enforce the same standards for commercial production facilities.USDA said in the release that this includes: “The plants and their containers must be stored in a manner that will prevent the infection of the host plants, including by any known or suspected pathogens or fungi.
The plants and containers must also be sealed in a way that will limit the spread of disease, including from one plant to another.
If a plant becomes infected with a potentially deadly organism, the plant and its containers must then be removed and destroyed.”
It also requires that the facility collect and preserve all relevant environmental records and provide any necessary technical support to the USDA and other agencies.
This is the first time USDA has issued guidance regarding floriculture.
In the past, it has been the job of the USDA to issue rules to help growers and processors comply with the standards.
“We are working closely with our suppliers and with other partners in the agricultural sector to ensure the best possible protection for American florists and consumers,” USDA Deputy Secretary Stephanie T. O’Brien said in a statement.
The agency also said the new requirements will help growers reduce their reliance on imported goods.
The release says that the U-shaped containers, which are made from paper or other plastic, should be made of a material that will not contaminate the flowers.
The paper or plastic should be used only when absolutely necessary, and it should be waterproof.
The U-shape container must also not be smaller than a U-ring, and the bottom should be no smaller than 2.5 inches by 1.5 feet.
The U-shell must be 3.5 to 4 inches wide and 1.8 inches deep.
The plants must be allowed to dry completely before they are placed in the container.
The plant and plant leaves must be removed from the container at the end of the storage period.
The flowers and fruits should be allowed a maximum of 1 week in the air.
The air should be maintained at a constant temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the plant or plant leaves become infected with any organism, USDA recommends that it be destroyed, either by a chemical disinfectant or by a hot water spray or steam disinfectant.
The products of flower production must be handled properly and properly packaged.
They must be protected from heat, light, and moisture, and they should be cleaned before use.
USDA says florist-produced floral products should be stored and used in accordance with USDA guidelines and the rules of the U, C, and D plants.
Flower growers must maintain proper pest control plans, and floristry must follow the standards of the USDA.
This is not the first year that USDA has made these rules.
In May, it also said that flower growers would be required to follow guidelines for the protection of animals from parasites, as well as for the preservation of animal specimens and the collection of biological samples.