AFIF Role with USDA & AQI
AFIF actively works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Agriculture Quarantine Inspection (AQI) on a variety of matters locally, nationally, and internationally.
AQI offices inspect every shipment of flowers at the point of entry. They inspect a sample chosen at random, of every flower variety from every farm. When pests or diseases are found, a USDA determines if it is actionable or non-actionable. Non-actionable is immediately released, actionable must be fumigated, destroyed or returned to the country of origin (depending on the pest or disease.) If the USDA officer cannot determine the pest or disease, it is sent to a national USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) identifier who determines if the shipment should be held or released. AFIF works with AQI to ensure accurate documentation for expedited clearances, and during the flower holidays, meets with AQI and air carriers to ensure sufficient staffing.
AFIF is currently involved with several active USDA Task Forces, including working with importers and growers on lowering pest interception rates through delivery of pest I.D. reports and working with USDA and grower partners on pest management issues as well as programs to ensure accurate documentation is provided to USDA to enable expedited clearance.
AFIF is also active in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Miami Perishable Coalition and the USDA APHIS PPQ/State of Florida Roundtable. Both groups meet to discuss and come to conclusions (with other Florida stakeholders, e.g. importers, exporters, growers, university researchers, and Federal and Florida PQ personnel) on a variety of issues affecting perishables imported to Miami.
For more information on USDA and AQI, visit:
www.usda.gov and www.aphis.usda.gov.