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[APD] RE: Tropica plants

Nicholas Plummer asked: Can anyone explain why Tropica plants cannot be imported into the US.? 

USA is the only industrialised country that does not allow import of Tropica plants. USDA requires that the roots are visible. This is not possible because all Tropica plants are grown in pots with stone-wool.
(Federal Register § 319.37-8   Growing media.(a) Any restricted article at the time of importation or offer for importation into the United States shall be free of sand, soil, earth, and other growing media)

Extracting the main point of a letter addressed to the United States Department of Agriculture: 

Tropica was established in 1970 as a specialised nursery producing solely aquatic plants. Each year Tropica produces 2 million aquatic plants potted in the sterile medium 'rock wool' manufactured under the trade name Grodan. This particular growth medium is currently hindering the export of these first-class aquarium plants into the United States. Grodan is recognised world-wide as an effective and clean growth medium. It enables the grower to control and fight any disease or pest what so ever on hydroponically grown plants. Currently, Tropica exports more than 150 species to 30 different countries all over the world including Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. All of these countries are extremely careful about preventing the introduction of new pests. 
The United States presently allows the import of aquatic plants grown in nurseries in for example India, Sri Lanka and Singapore as long as they come free of soils or other particulate root medium. In addition, the United States allows the import of aquatic plants collected in the wild from South America as well as Asia. Both of these sources of aquatic plants present a high risk of introducing unwanted 'weeds' and phyto-diseases (fungus, bacteria, and virus). This is not a theoretical risk! During the obligatory quarantine period, Tropica has found that many of the plants held in quarantine carry diseases and pest. 
Importing plants from Tropica Aquarium Plants poses far less risk than importing plants from the wild or from less rigorously controlled nurseries in Asia. Diseases are avoided by strict control in the production by actually growing the plants in 'rock wool' on sterile plastic tables using reverse osmosis water. The nursery is under strict control by the Danish Department of Agriculture (DDA), which visits Tropica unannounced searching for pests and diseases. In addition, DDA will issue 'Phytosanitary Certificates' after carefully examining and approving each shipment. Also, each shipment is subjected to country specific pre-export treatments.

Best regards

Claus Christensen: (mailto:clc at tropica_dk)
Managing director
Tropica Aquarium Plants: (mailto:tropica at tropica_dk)
Tropica http://www.tropica.dk

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