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USDA PROPOSES TO IMPLEMENT RISK-BASED PROCESS FOR CERTAIN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FROM - HAWAII

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

HAWAII AND U.S. TERRITORIES

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced a proposal to establish a risk-based process for approving the interstate movement of certain fruits and vegetables from Hawaii and the territories in the United States. APHIS also proposes to acknowledge pest-free areas in Hawaii and the territories using a notice-based process.

The proposed process for approving certain fruits and vegetables only would apply to those commodities that can be moved safely by interstate, subject to one or more of six designated phytosanitary measures. These measures would include inspection in the first state of arrival; approved treatment; origination from a pest-free area; inspection and certification in the state or territory of origin showing that the commodity is pest-free; limiting the distribution of the commodity to certain states; or, determining that the risk associated with the commodity can be mitigated through commercial practices.

The interstate movement of fruits and vegetables that require additional phytosanitary measures would continue to undergo the full rulemaking process.

The proposed changes would not alter which fruits and vegetables are currently eligible for interstate movement or how the risks associated with those commodities would be evaluated or mitigated. The proposed changes would only make more timely the approval of fruits and vegetables that are safe for interstate movement in the United States.

APHIS also is proposing to make other changes, which include:

  • Establishing a “notice-based” process for acknowledging changes in the status of pest-free areas;
  • Reorganizing the regulations to consolidate and eliminate redundant requirements; and
  • Making various non-substantive changes to the regulations to make them easier to use.

If approved, these changes would make APHIS' domestic interstate movement regulations more consistent with its fruit and vegetable import regulations, also known as Quarantine 56.

This action is scheduled for publication in the June 17 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Aug. 18. Send an original and two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0052, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Comments can be submitted on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0052. Click on “Add Comments” to view public comments and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Reglations.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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