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Published September 21, 2011, 10:29 AM

MDA warns consumers about shipping apples to several western states

ST. PAUL – Minnesota currently has an abundance of apples, but if any resident tries to ship apples west of the Rocky Mountains, the shipment may not get to its intended destination.

ST. PAUL – Minnesota currently has an abundance of apples, but if any resident tries to ship apples west of the Rocky Mountains, the shipment may not get to its intended destination. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is warning residents not to ship apples to several western states without proper certification.

MDA has received its first Notice of Rejection on a shipment of apples to California. A Minnesota resident tried to send a 10-pound bag of apples to a California resident, and the apples were destroyed at a parcel facility in California before the resident could receive her apples.

“It is unfortunate the resident did not know about California’s fruit policy, but we are trying to save a few Minnesotans from losing money and products,” said Geir Friisoe, MDA’s Plant Protection Division Director. “Apples can be shipped to California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, but only if the fruit comes from an orchard that has been certified by MDA.”

Even if the package is not labeled as carrying fruit, trained dogs will alert a biologist who will then inspect the package. If the parcel contains fruit, the package will be intercepted. While there are several options available to state authorities out West, including returning the package to the sender or chemically treating the shipment, typically small apple shipments sent to friends or relatives are destroyed.

California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have exterior quarantines in place for most fresh fruits and vegetables, not just apples. These quarantines require the regulated produce entering these states to be accompanied by a certificate certifying the produce is free from specific pests and diseases. The only way Minnesota residents can ship apples to these three Western states is to ship the produce through an orchard certified by MDA.

Residents are advised to call their local orchard and ask if they are certified or if they could become certified to ship product to Western states. For a list of apple orchards in Minnesota, go to the Minnesota Grown Directory at http://www.minnesotagrown.com. For more information on state specific regulations for shipping fruits and vegetables, you should check with the National Plant Board at http://www.nationalplantboard.org.

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