Importation of Hass Avocados From Colombia

Proposed rule; Reopening of Comment Period

The U.S. Department of Agriculture‚Äôs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reopening the comment period for a proposed rule that would allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States.  We are also notifying the public of the availability of a revised pest risk assessment (PRA) and risk management document (RMD) associated with the proposed rule.  Reopening the comment period will allow interested persons time to review the new information and to submit comments by the new closing date of February 16, 2017.

The PRA that we used to draft the RMD considered the pink hibiscus mealybug a significant pest that could follow the Hass avocados pathway from Colombia to the continental United States.  We have subsequently determined that growing conditions for Hass avocados in Colombia, as well as the standard packinghouse practices used to prepare the fruit for commercial export effectively preclude the pink hibiscus mealybug from following the pathway from Colombia to the continental United States.

APHIS is making a more recent version of the PRA available for public review and comment, as well as a revised version of the RMD that reflects this change. 

The comment period for the proposed rule published on October 27, 2016 is reopened.  We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 16, 2017, as well as comments received between the time the comment period closed for the first time in December and the date of this notice.

ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments by either of the following methods: