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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Updates Pale Cyst Nematode Regulations to Allow for Public Review of Future Changes to Domestic Quarantine Protocols

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is updating domestic regulations for pale cyst nematode (PCN, Globodera pallida). The update will allow for a public comment period for future changes to program protocols for regulating and deregulating PCN-infested and associated areas. PCN is a microscopic soil-pest of potato crops, which causes significant yield losses if left uncontrolled. In North America, the nematode is known to be present in Idaho and on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Female PCNs form cysts containing 200 to 600 eggs, which can remain dormant and viable in soil for up to 30 years. If not controlled, collectively, potato yield losses from a few types of potato cyst nematodes, including G. pallida, can reach 20-70%. Early detection minimizes agricultural production costs, enhances product quality, and protects domestic and foreign markets.

APHIS regulates infested fields and fields that may have been exposed to PCN-infested soil, and accordingly restricts the interstate movement of potatoes and other regulated articles from these quarantined areas to prevent this pest’s spread. With this update, APHIS is amending Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 301.86-3(c)(1) and (d) to state that if APHIS considers making a change to the regulation or deregulation protocols, the agency will publish a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the proposed change, and solicit public feedback. After reviewing public comments, APHIS will publish the final notice and inform the public of changes made to the protocols as well as the reasons behind them.

Members of the public can view the final rule, supporting documents, and additional information here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=APHIS-2018-0041-0040. This action will go into effect on Jan. 28, 2021, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


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