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USDA PROPOSES A VOLUNTARY TRICHINAE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

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Jim Rogers (301) 734-0603
Jim Brownlee (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to establish a voluntary trichinae certification program for U.S. pork.

Because farm management practices, biosecurity and farm hygiene have improved significantly over the last 50 years, Trichinella spiralis is rare in the United States and is not currently required as part of a testing program in the United States. The European Union and other overseas markets, however, require testing for all imports of fresh pork and fresh pork products. The proposed voluntary certification program for the United States would ensure that American producers standardize their protocols and offer overseas markets a USDA certification as to the Trichinella spiralis protections in place at U.S. farms without having to test every animal and every product.

Trichinella spiralis is a parasitic roundworm found in many warm-blooded carnivores and omnivores, including swine. Transmission from one host to another only occurs by the ingestion of infected muscle tissue. The primary vector for Trichinella spiralis in swine is the consumption of raw meat waste and, in some cases, the consumption of rodents or other animals.

Under the proposed program, APHIS would certify pork production sites that follow good production practices to reduce, eliminate or avoid the risk of exposure of animals to Trichinella spiralis . Good production practices include feed integrity (such as source of feed and feed storage) and facility construction and condition as it pertains to biosecurity.

The proposed voluntary certification program will enhance the ability of producers to export pork and pork products to overseas markets. This proposed program was developed as a cooperative effort by USDA, the National Pork Board and the pork processing industry.

Notice of this proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the May 16 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 16. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0089, 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-2006-0089 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 viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:40 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

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