The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 55 Use of irradiation technology is becoming increasingly important today because methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting fumigant still widely used as a quarantine and preshipment treatment for quarantine pests, is known to contribute to climate change. The July 4 Event For the July 4 celebration of pomelo diplomacy and 190 years of U.S.-Thai relations, there was much to do. With only weeks until the event in the U.S., we got to work. Fortunately, Thailand had been using an irradiation facility for other fruits over the years, and that would be our base of operations where we inspected the fruit and treated it in carefully arranged pallet configurations that ensure full dosage is delivered to each fruit. This is tedious, methodical work but so critical in ensuring safe trade and program integrity. Khun Rapibhat at the Department of Agriculture gave his full cooperation and attention to make this happen and get the fruit halfway across the globe in time for July 4. We just about completed all the technical requirements; on the other side were the logistics: the fruit was flying first class and leaving the Bangkok airport the night of June 27. Khun Rapibhat indicated there would be a small ceremony at the airport to commemorate such an auspicious event. We started early that day, receiving boxes of fruit from approved packhouses to the irradiation facility, sampling and inspecting fruit for pests, configuring the boxes on pallets, and trying to stay cool in the sweltering irradiation Thai pomelo, “the king of citrus fruits,” is carefully configured in insect-proof boxes to ensure each fruit receives the proper dose of radiation to sterilize target insect pests. JITLADA VASUVAT