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

One of the purposes of PPQ permits is to prevent the dissemination of plant pests into or through the United States. As a consequence, PPQ may only issue permits for certain organisms when the receiving facility can adequately contain the organisms so as to prevent dissemination of the organisms.

Containment of regulated organisms may be accomplished by a combination of proper handling of the regulated organisms and by physical and security attributes of the premises where the regulated organisms will be held. PPQ containment specialists can determine the adequacy of a facility either by a computer assisted facility evaluation (CAFÉ) or by a full inspection which includes an on-site inspection of the facility. The criteria used to determine the kind of evaluation (CAFÉ or full) needed before permit issuance is described below.

All facilities with PPQ -regulated organisms may be inspected at any time by agency officials during normal business hours.

Criteria used to Determine the Kind of Evaluation (CAFÉ or Full) Needed Before Permit Issuance: 

Related Information
If you are applying for a PPQ permit that meets the criteria for an inspection and your facility or laboratory has not been previously inspected, then you should anticipate a one to three month delay in processing your application.

When PPQ evaluates the containment capabilities of a facility, physical and operational characteristics are examined relative to the risks of the organisms and their methods of actual or potential dispersal from the facility. The operational characteristics of the facility are developed by the applicant and the attached Outline for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) may be used to prepare this document. For butterflies, use the attached Outline for Standard Operating Procedures. These documented operational features will be confirmed during the inspection.

APHIS has developed guidelines for the containment of organisms. These guidelines vary depending upon the type of organism to be contained and the risk posed by those organisms. Not all elements in the following guidelines apply to all organisms to be contained and the guidelines are guidelines not regulations.


Before beginning construction of a containment facility, you should contact Pest Permit Evaluations staff and discuss our containment requirements with a Containment Facility Evaluation Specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions 
View a list of the commonly asked questions and concerns associated with containment facility inspections.

Contact Information:
4700 River Road, Unit 133
Riverdale, MD 20737
Telephone: 866.524.5421
Fax: 301.734.5392

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