Shipping NM chile to CA? You'd better label it, Ag Department warns

LAS CRUCES -- New Mexicans feeling generous enough to share their fresh New Mexico chile peppers with friends and family are being advised on how to label the packages they intend to mail to California in order to ensure prompt delivery.

Every year, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture receives notifications that shipments of fresh chile have been delayed due to improperly labeled packages. 

California Department of Food and Agriculture staff routinely inspect shipments at the post office, FedEx stores, UPS stores and the like in order to protect against plant pests and disease that could harm the state's agricultural sector.  Although fresh New Mexico chile peppers are not considered such a threat, packages that aren't properly labeled are subject to delays if inspectors have to open them to determine their contents.

To minimize delays in the delivery of fresh New Mexico chile peppers to California, New Mexicans should clearly print the following on the outside of their packages: 

Contents: Pungent Capsicum Peppers

Origin: New Mexico

"Adding the label is a simple step that will go a long way in ensuring that your out-of-state family and friends get their fix of fresh New Mexico chile," New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said. 

Witte added that New Mexico chile growers are increasingly shipping their chile into states such as California where it's sold at grocery stores, at restaurants for seasonal dishes and at festivals to celebrate its long-awaited arrival. 

For questions regarding shipments of chile or other New Mexico products to other states, contact NMDA at (575)-646-3207.

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