The U.S. Department of Agriculture will amend the federal marketing order regulating the handling of pistachios produced in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

The passing of the referendum creates the authority to set export standards.

More than 97 percent of eligible pistachio growers voting in the referendum favored the proposed amendments. That percentage exceeds the required two-thirds majority of growers voting or producers accounting for two-thirds of the volume of pistachios needed to approve the amendments. 

The amendments, recommended by the Administrative Committee for Pistachios, will:

1 - Provide authority to establish aflatoxin sampling, analysis, and inspection requirements for shipments of pistachios to export markets, including authority to establish different regulations for different markets;

2 - Provide authority to establish quality and inspection requirements for shipments of pistachios to export markets, including authority to establish different regulations for different markets;

3 - Change a related section of the order concerning substandard pistachios to conform to the proposed addition of export authority; and

4 - Correct an erroneous cross-reference to another section of the order.

The proposed amendments become effective once the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

Growers producing pistachios in California, Arizona, and New Mexico between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011 were eligible to vote in the referendum.