Because of the coronavirus pandemic, workers at the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Vietnam returned to the US in March, resulting in disruptions in the irradiation and inspection of fresh fruit.
After the APHIS staff returned home, the US Embassy in Vietnam was authorised to monitor the irradiation of fresh fruit, but they only worked two hours per day and stopped receiving fruit for quarantine as of August 7. Since then, the irradiation and export of fruit to the US has been halted.
APHIS is the agency that directly quarantines and supervises the irradiation process at Son Son Irradiation Plant in Ho Chi Minh City. Son Son is also the only irradiation plant in Vietnam to be certified by APHIS.
To facilitate the export of Vietnamese fruit to the US market, the United State Department of Agriculture agreed to send quarantine experts to Vietnam to help in resuming the work.
Before their arrival, US Embassy officials are going to supervise the irradiation of fresh fruit from this week in order to recommence the export of fruit to the US.