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USDA SEEKS COMMENTS ON PROPOSAL TO ALLOW PORK TRANSITING OR BEING PROCESSSED IN REGIONS WITH CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER INTO THE UNITED STATES

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Jim Rogers (202) 690-4755
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to allow the importation of uncooked pork and pork products from designated regions where classical swine fever (CSF) is considered to exist if the shipments originate in an area free of the disease.

APHIS is taking this action primarily to allow uncooked pork and pork products that originate in the United States to be shipped for processing to Mexico and then be returned to the United States. Under the current regulations, these products would only be allowed entry into this country if they had been cooked or cured prior to leaving Mexico, which contains areas where CSF is considered to exist.

Under the proposed rule, uncooked pork and pork products sent to CSF-affected regions for processing and then shipped to the United States must be in closed containers sealed with serially numbered seals. The shipments must be accompanied by a certificate that specifies the products' region of origin, the slaughtering establishment where the animal was slaughtered and from which the products were shipped, and the processing establishment to which the products are consigned, and the numbers of the seals applied to the shipping containers.

CSF, also known as hog cholera, is a highly contagious viral disease of swine. The most common method of transmission is direct contact between healthy swine and those infected with CSF. The disease can also be transmitted through contact with body secretions and excrement from infected animals. CSF was eradicated from the United States in 1978 after a 16-year effort by the industry and state and federal governments. CSF does not affect human health.

Notice of this proposed rule is published in the Jan. 5 F­­­­ederal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before March 6. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0186, 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-2006-0186 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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