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Melissa O’Dell  (301) 734-5222
Angela Harless  (202) 720-4623

USDA ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FOUR PEST RISK ANALYSES FOR THE IMPORTATION OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FROM AFRICA

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced the availability of four pest risk analyses, for review and comment, evaluating the risk associated with the importation into the United States of peeled baby carrots and baby corn from Kenya, Ribes species from South Africa and peppers, eggplant and okra from Ghana.
           
On July 18, USDA published a final rule that established a risk-based process for approving the importation of certain fruits and vegetables.  This process continues stringent protections for U.S. agriculture, yet streamlines the lengthy rulemaking process allowing USDA plant health specialists to focus on more complex domestic and import issues.  Under the new process, a notice announcing the availability of the pest risk analysis is published in the Federal Register with the opportunity for public comment.  After the comment period ends, all comments are considered, and if appropriate, a notice is published in the Federal Register announcing that USDA will begin issuing import permits for the commodity.
  
The pest risk analyses completed for peeled baby carrots and baby corn from Kenya, Ribes species from South Africa and peppers, eggplant and okra from Ghana conclude that these commodities can be safely imported into the United States subject to one or more of five designated phytosanitary measures, and therefore are eligible for the new notice-based approval process.  These measures include port-of-entry inspection, approved postharvest treatment, a phytosanitary certificate verifying that the commodity originated from a pest-free area, a phytosanitary certificate verifying that the commodity is free from a specified pest or pests or that the risk associated with the commodity can be mitigated through commercial practices.

To learn more about the revisions made to USDA’s fruit and vegetable regulations, please go to www.aphis.usda.gov and click on the Quarantine 56 hot issues link.
 
These notices were published in the July 18 Federal Register.
 
Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Sept. 17.  Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to APHIS Docket No. APHIS-2007-0099 (baby carrots from Kenya); APHIS-2007-0100 (baby corn from Kenya); APHIS-2007-0101 (Ribes species fruit from South Africa) or APHIS-2007-0102 (vegetables from Ghana), Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.  Comments can be submitted by 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-2007-0099; APHIS2007-0100; APHIS-2007-0101 or APHIS-2007-0102 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 also can 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.

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