Hallie Pickhardt (301) 734-0602
USDA PROPOSES REVISED REGULATIONS FOR MOVEMENT OF CITRUS FRUIT FROM FLORIDA
WASHINGTON, June 21, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its current citrus canker regulations to eliminate the pre-harvest grove inspection for all Florida citrus moving interstate and instead focus on sampling each lot of citrus at the packinghouse to ensure the fruit is disease free.
APHIS is proposing this regulatory action because a recently completed risk management analysis (RMA) concluded that a mandatory packinghouse inspection of commercially packed fruit provides an effective safeguard to prevent the spread of citrus canker.
“Despite the fact that Florida is dealing with a serious citrus disease, USDA in cooperation with the state and industry has developed a science-based solution to preserve Florida’s vital citrus market while continuing to protect against the spread of this disease,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs mission area. “As Congress works on the 2007 farm bill, USDA will continue to push for science-based regulatory approaches that create opportunities for specialty crop producers, such as citrus growers, to expand market opportunities here in the United States and abroad.”
Fruit shipped within Florida would not require sampling and inspection as described in the proposed rule. Florida citrus exported to other international markets must still meet all import requirements of the destination county.
For more information on citrus canker, please go to www.aphis.usda.gov and click on the citrus canker hot issues link.
This proposed rule is published in the June 21 Federal Register.
Consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 23. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0022, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2007-0022 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.
Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.