[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 158 (Thursday, August 19, 2021)]
[Page 46673]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-17814]

                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
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Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 158 / Thursday, August 19, 2021 / 

[[Page 46673]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-20-0096, SC-20-327]

Revision of U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelons

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) is revising the U.S. Standards for Grades of 
Watermelons. Changes will provide a common language for trade of 

DATES: Applicable September 20, 2021.

Inspection Division, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, 
VA 22406; phone (540) 361-1128; fax (540) 361-1199; or email 
[email protected].

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 U.S. Standards for 
Grades of Fruits and Vegetables that no longer appear in the Code of 
Federal Regulations are maintained by AMS at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards. AMS is revising the U.S. Standards for Grades using 
the procedures that appear in part 36 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (7 CFR part 36).


    On October 22, 2019, the National Watermelon Association (NWA), a 
trade association representing growers, retailers, and shippers from 30 
U.S. states, Canada, and Central America, petitioned the USDA to revise 
the watermelon standards and update the official USDA visual aids 
library. AMS worked closely with the NWA throughout the development of 
the proposed revisions, soliciting their comments and suggestions about 
the standards through discussion drafts and presentations. Through this 
collaboration, AMS also developed and issued four new watermelon visual 
aids. On November 20, 2020, the NWA approved the proposed revisions, 
and on March 11, 2021, a Proposed Notice was published in the Federal 
Register (86 FR 13874). The public comment period closed May 10, 2021, 
with 45 comments from the industry, 44 of which fully supported the 
proposed revisions.
    One commenter supported the revisions except for the proposed 
scoring guide for rind worm injury occurring on the ground spot. The 
commenter felt consumers will not overlook this defect because they 
understand that this is the ground spot, but was open to compromise. 
The NWA originally proposed to forgo scoring rind worm injury when 
affecting the ground spot. The color of the ground spot changes 
throughout the growing stages, from pale white to creamy yellow at 
maturity. Rind worm injury is tan in color and more readily blends with 
the color of the ground spot. AMS determined that rind worm injury on 
the ground spot is less detracting, but not to the extent that the 
grade standard would allow an unlimited amount. AMS believes scoring 
rind worm injury on the ground spot that seriously detracts from the 
appearance of the melon as damage, but not as serious damage, is a 
reasonable compromise. Rind worm injury occurring on portions of the 
melon other than the ground spot will continue to be scored as damage 
and serious damage.
    To show their support of the revisions, commenters generally ended 
their submissions with the following or a similar statement: ``The USDA 
has the full support of the NWA and its membership (that crosses the 
country from coast to coast and border to border (and beyond in some 
cases). Thank you for your support, and your help in this vital 
    Therefore, AMS is making the following changes:
     Sec.  51.1973 Tolerances: For defects at shipping point, 
en route, or at destination for the U.S. No. 1 and U.S. No. 2 grades, 
AMS will remove the 3% tolerance for Anthracnose at shipping point and 
remove the 5% tolerance for Anthracnose en route or at destination. The 
tolerance for decay will be revised to establish a total tolerance of 
1% for shipping point and 2% for en route or at destination for 
Anthracnose and decay.
     Sec.  51.1976 Size: AMS will align weights with current 
marketing trends by adjusting the average weights to 10 to 34 pounds.
     Sec.  51.1985 Permanent defects and Sec.  51.1986 
Condition defects: AMS will remove sunburn as a condition defect and 
add sunburn as a permanent defect.
     Sec.  51.1978 and Sec.  51.1982: In Sec.  51.1978, AMS 
will correct the typo in the definition for fairly well formed to read 
``the perfect type for the variety'' instead of ``the perfect type of 
the variety.'' In Sec.  51.1982, AMS will add the missing heading 
identifying the definition: ``Seedless watermelons.''
     Sec.  51.1987 Classification of defects: AMS will base the 
scoring guides for sunburn, hail, rind worm injury, scars (and other 
similar defects), and transit rubs on a 15-pound melon and will base 
the scoring guide for hollow heart on any size melon. Lastly, AMS will 
limit the scoring of rind worm injury on the ground spot by scoring it 
under the definition of damage when seriously detracting from the 
appearance of the melon; rind worm injury occurring on the ground spot 
is not scorable as serious damage.
     AMS will remove all metric measurements from the 
standards. The revisions align the standards with current marketing 

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

Erin Morris,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-17814 Filed 8-18-21; 8:45 am]