Revision of U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelons

CourtAgricultural Marketing Service,Agriculture Department
Citation86 FR 46673
Publication Date19 Aug 2021
Record Number2021-17814
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER
contains documents other than rules or
proposed rules that are applicable to the
public. Notices of hearings and investigations,
committee meetings, agency decisions and
rulings, delegations of authority, filing of
petitions and applications and agency
statements of organization and functions are
examples of documents appearing in this
Notices Federal Register
Vol. 86, No. 158
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Agricultural Marketing Service
[Doc. No. AMS–SC–20–0096, SC–20–327]
Revision of U.S. Standards for Grades
of Watermelons
: Agricultural Marketing Service,
: Notice.
: 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 watermelons.
: Applicable September 20, 2021.
David G. Horner, USDA, Specialty
Crops Inspection Division, 100
Riverside Parkway, Suite 101,
Fredericksburg, VA 22406; phone (540)
361–1128; fax (540) 361–1199; or email
: 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://
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
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 effort.’’
Therefore, AMS is making the
following changes:
§ 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
§ 51.1976 Size: AMS will align
weights with current marketing trends
by adjusting the average weights to 10
to 34 pounds.
§ 51.1985 Permanent defects and
§ 51.1986 Condition defects: AMS will
remove sunburn as a condition defect
and add sunburn as a permanent defect.
§ 51.1978 and §51.1982: In
§ 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 § 51.1982, AMS will add the
missing heading identifying the
definition: ‘‘Seedless watermelons.’’
§ 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 trends.
(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]
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