[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 148 (Wednesday, August 2, 1995)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39241-39242]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-18904]

Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 60, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 2, 1995 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 39241]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 51

[Docket Number FV-95-302]

Peaches; Grade Standards

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This final rule revises the United States Standards for Grades 
of Peaches by changing the method in which peaches are sized. The 
revision will bring the standards into conformity with current 
cultural, harvesting and marketing practices by revising the definition 
of ``diameter'' from the shortest distance to the greatest distance. 
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), in cooperation with industry, 
and other interested parties develops and improves standards of 
quality, condition, quantity, grade, and packaging in order to 
facilitate commerce by providing buyers, sellers, and quality assurance 
personnel uniform language and criteria for describing various levels 
of quality and condition as valued in the marketplace.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 2, 1995.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank O'Sullivan, Fresh Products 
Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 96456, Room 2056 South 
Building, Washington, DC 20090-6456, (202) 720-2185.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is 
issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et. seq.), the Administrator of the 
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has determined that this action 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The revision of U.S. Standards for Grades of Peaches 
will not impose substantial direct economic cost, recordkeeping, or 
personnel workload changes on small entities, and will not alter the 
market share or competitive position of these entities relative to 
large businesses. In addition, under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 
1946, the use of these standards is voluntary.
    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12778, 
Civil Justice Reform. This action is not intended to have retroactive 
effect. This final rule will not preempt any State or local laws, 
regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable 
conflict with this rule. There are no administrative procedures which 
must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of 
the rule.
    Agencies periodically review existing regulations. An objective of 
the review is to ensure that the grade standards are serving their 
intended purpose, the language is clear, and the standards are 
consistent with AMS policy and authority.
    The proposed rule, United States Standards for Grades of Peaches, 
was published in the Federal Register on March 3, 1995, (60 FR 11918).
    The National Peach Council (NPC), with the support of the Georgia 
Peach Council, New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, Inc., and the South 
Carolina Peach Council and Promotion Board, Inc., requested that the 
USDA revise the United States Standards for Grades of Peaches, which 
were last revised in 1952. The NPC requested that the standards be 
revised in order to bring them into conformity with current cultural, 
harvesting and marketing practices. The NPC contends that due to new 
improved varieties, that changes to the current standards are 
necessary. Currently, peaches are sized based on the shortest diameter, 
which requires the use of a caliper or slotted sizing ring. This method 
was adopted several years ago when most peaches were oblong and heavily 
sutured. Industry research has demonstrated that today's varieties are 
generally much more round and more uniform in shape than older 
varieties. The shape of peaches is similar to nectarines. Nectarines 
are sized by using the greatest diameter of the nectarine, which allows 
fruit to be sized using a sizing ring. Therefore, in order to create 
uniformity in the marketplace, peaches should be sized on the same 
basis as nectarines, by using the greatest dimension measured at right 
angles to a line from stem to blossom end of the fruit, using a sizing 
    The 60-day comment period on the proposed rule ended May 2, 1995, 
and a total of twenty-six comments were received from growers, 
shippers, and receivers. All comments were in favor of the proposal in 
its entirety, although concerns were raised. In addition, one comment 
was received from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
    A copy of the proposed rule was provided to the ARS for helping 
identifying studies, data collection or other information relevant to 
the possible effect of the proposed revision on pesticide use. ARS 
reported that they were unable to find much information on the subject. 
The information that was found by ARS proved not to be relevant.
    Twenty-six comments were in favor of revising the United States 
Standards for Grades of Peaches by changing the method in which peaches 
are sized from shortest diameter using a caliper or slotted sizing ring 
to the greatest diameter using a sizing ring. It is believed that this 
revision will create uniformity within the marketplace.
    One comment from a receivers association went on to state that they 
were concerned that the proposed change would allow shippers to market 
smaller peaches than those that are marketed under the current method 
of sizing peaches. They did not believe that shipment of smaller 
peaches would be beneficial to the receivers, wholesalers, retailers or 
consumers. Another comment from a State association stated that ``it is 
estimated that fruit sized with a ring will yield approximately four 
fruit per pound while fruit labeled the same size but measured with a 
caliper will yield only three fruit per pound.'' Although this change 
in sizing method may yield slightly more fruit per pound, this change 
is insignificant when considering the ease of determining size by the 
new method.
    Sizing machinery used by packers/shippers has never measured 
peaches based on a slotted sizing method. Most automated sizing methods 
have generally been based on a ring sizing 

[[Page 39242]]
method. As a result, peach industry packers/shippers had to estimate 
the size of the final pack. Ultimately, this meant using trial and 
error methods to yield properly sized fruit. This change should result 
in a more uniform and accurately sized pack, and at the same time 
alleviate the unnecessary time spent by these individuals by 
eliminating this trial and error method.
    The revision will affect peaches that are sized to a minimum 
diameter, which are mostly grown on the east coast and some in the 
Midwest. This will not affect peaches grown on the west coast as they 
are sized based on 7 CFR part 917, consisting of a weight-count system.
    AMS develops and improves standards of quality, condition, grade, 
and packaging in order to facilitate efficient marketing. The 
provisions of this final rule are the same as those in the proposed 

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 51

    Agricultural commodities, Food grades and standards, Fruits, Nuts, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vegetables.

    For reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR Part 51 is amended as 


    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 51 continues to read as 

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1622, 1624.

    2. In part 51, Sec. 51.1216(c) is revised to read as follows:

Subpart--United States Standards for Grades of Peaches

Sec. 51.1216  Size requirements.

* * * * *
    (c) Diameter means the greatest dimension measured at right angles 
to a line from stem to blossom end of the fruit.
* * * * *
    Dated: July 24, 1995.
Lon Hatamiya,
[FR Doc. 95-18904 Filed 8-1-95; 8:45 am]