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Melissa O'Dell (301)734-5222
Jim Brownlee (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced a proposal to allow, under specified conditions, the importation of fresh Unshu oranges from the Republic of Korea into Alaska .

Based on the scientific evidence in a recent pest risk analysis, these articles can be safely imported into Alaska from the Republic of Korea provided that certain mitigation measures are met.

To ensure that plant pests or diseases do not enter the United States through the importation of this commodity, APHIS would require the oranges to be prepared for shipping using packinghouse procedures that include washing all fruit in a water bath and culling damaged or diseased fruit. Each shipping box would also have to be stamped or printed with the following: “These oranges may not be shipped to any state other than Alaska.” Additionally, APHIS would require each shipment be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the national plant protection organization of the Republic of Korea with an additional declaration that states that the oranges were inspected and are free of citrus canker and arrowhead scale, two significant pests of citrus. Alaska's cold climate and lack of host plants prevent these diseases from becoming established. APHIS selected these measures, among others, to effectively mitigate the risk of introducing plant pests.

Notice of this proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the Dec. 4 Federal Register .

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 2, 2007. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0133, 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-2006-0133 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/lpa/newsroom. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to lyris@mdrdlyriss10.aphis.usda.gov and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.

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