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Notice

United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), is soliciting comments on the proposed revision to the United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower. AMS is reviewing all fresh fruit and vegetable grade standards for usefulness in serving the industry. As a result, AMS has noted the current U.S. grade standards do not have provisions for grading purple, orange or green cauliflower. The proposed revision will amend the color requirement for curds to allow all colors of cauliflower to be certified to a U.S. grade. In addition, AMS proposes to permit mixed color packs, heads less than 4 inches in diameter, and to remove the unclassified section.

DATES:

Comments must be received by April 9, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments to the Standardization and Training Branch, Fresh Products Division, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Training and Development Center, Riverside Business Park, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, VA 22406: Fax (540) 361-1199, or on the Web at: www.regulation.gov. Comments should make reference to the dates and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the above office during regular business hours. Comments can also be viewed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. The current United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower will be available either through the address cited above or by accessing the AMS, Fresh Products Division Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/freshinspection.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Carl Newell, at the above address or call (540) 361-1120.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 203(c) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621-1627), as amended, directs and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture “to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade and packaging and recommend and demonstrate such standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices.” AMS is committed to carrying out this authority in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities and makes copies of official standards available upon request. The United States Standards for Grades of Fruits and Vegetables not connected with Federal Marketing Orders or U.S. Import Requirements, no longer appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, but are maintained by USDA, AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Programs.

AMS is proposing to revise the voluntary United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower using procedures that appear in Part 36, Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 36).

Background and Proposed Notice

AMS is reviewing all fresh fruit and vegetable grade standards for usefulness in serving the industry. As a result, AMS has identified the U.S. Standards for Grades of Cauliflower color requirement for possible updating.

Different colors of cauliflower, such as purple, green, and orange, are currently being packed, including specialty packs consisting of mixed colors. The U.S. grade standards presently require curds to be white, creamy white, or cream color; they do not have provisions for grading other colors of cauliflower. AMS proposes to amend U.S. No. 1 color provisions by adding “unless otherwise specified;” to the basic requirement for color. This revision will also affect the U.S. Commercial grade. AMS believes that permitting other colors and mixed color packs will facilitate the marketing of cauliflower by providing the industry with more flexibility that reflects current marketing practices and consumer demand.

In addition, California produce growers, packers, and shippers requested that the USDA provide more flexibility regarding the minimum size. Currently, curds are required to be not less than 4 inches in diameter. In order to allow for smaller sized heads of cauliflower, AMS proposes to amend provisions concerning U.S. No. 1 size by adding “unless otherwise specified” to the basic requirement for size. This revision will also affect the U.S. Commercial grade.

AMS also proposes to eliminate the “Unclassified” category from the standards. The unclassified section is being removed from all standards when they are revised. This category is not a grade and only serves to show that no grade has been applied to the lot. It is no longer considered necessary.

This notice provides for a 60 day comment period for interested parties to comment on the proposed revisions in the standards.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.

Dated: February 3, 2012.

Robert C. Keeney,

Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

[FR Doc. 2012-3027 Filed 2-8-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P