[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 20 (Wednesday, January 30, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 5424-5426]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-1653]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 94

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0124]


Change in Disease Status of Surrey County, England, Because of 
Foot-and-Mouth Disease

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations governing the importation of 
certain animals, meat, and other animal products by removing Surrey 
County, England, from the list of regions considered to be free of 
foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). We are taking this action because the 
existence of FMD has been confirmed in that area. This action is 
necessary to prevent the introduction of FMD into the United States. As 
a result of this interim rule the importation of ruminants and swine 
and the fresh meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine 
from Surrey County, England, is restricted.

DATES: This interim rule is effective January 30, 2008. However, we are 
imposing this restriction retroactively to August 3, 2007. We will 
consider all comments that we receive on or before March 31, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0124 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0124, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0124.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of 
the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Chip Wells, Senior Staff 
Veterinarian, Regionalization Evaluation Services Import Staff, 
National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 
38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4356.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a severe and highly contagious 
viral infection affecting all cloven-hoofed ruminants, including 
cattle, deer, goats, sheep, swine, and other animals. The disease is 
highly communicable and is characterized by fever and blister-like 
lesions on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats, and between 
the hooves. It causes severe losses in the production of meat, milk, 
and other dairy products. Although many animals survive the disease, it 
leaves them debilitated. FMD is endemic to more than two-thirds of the 
world and is considered to be widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, 
Europe, and South America. Because of the highly communicable nature of 
FMD, it is necessary to protect livestock that are free of the disease 
from any animals, animal products, or other articles that might be 
contaminated with the FMD virus.

[[Page 5425]]

    Although FMD was eradicated in the United States in 1929, the virus 
could be reintroduced by a single infected animal, animal product, or 
person carrying the virus. Once introduced, FMD can spread quickly 
through exposure to aerosols from infected animals, direct contact with 
infected animals, contact with contaminated feed or equipment, 
ingestion of animal products, or contact with humans harboring the 
virus or carrying the virus on their clothing.
    The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the 
regulations) govern the importation of certain animals and animal 
products into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of 
various animal diseases, including rinderpest and FMD. Section 94.1 of 
the regulations lists regions of the world that are considered free of 
rinderpest and FMD. The United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, 
Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man), in its entirety, has been listed 
in Sec.  94.1 as a region considered free of rinderpest and FMD. 
Section 94.11 lists regions of the world considered free of rinderpest 
and FMD but from which the importation of meat and other animal 
products into the United States is subject to additional restrictions 
because of those regions' proximity to or trading relationships with 
FMD-affected regions. The United Kingdom is currently listed in Sec.  
94.11 as one of the regions from which meat and other animal products 
of ruminants and swine are subject to additional restrictions.
    On August 3, 2007, the United Kingdom reported an outbreak of FMD 
in Surrey County, England, to the World Organization for Animal Health 
(OIE). A second outbreak was reported on August 7, 2007. By September 
30, 2007, a total of eight outbreaks had been confirmed. All infected 
premises were located in Surrey County. As a precautionary measure, the 
United Kingdom, in agreement with the European Commission, has since 
August 3, 2007, restricted exports of ruminants and swine and the fresh 
meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine, initially from 
all of Great Britain and subsequently from smaller regions within Great 
Britain. Epidemiological investigations and risk assessments conducted 
by the United Kingdom link the source of the outbreaks in Surrey County 
with a probably accidental release of the FMD virus from a laboratory 
and vaccine production facility in Pirbright. Intensive surveillance 
has demonstrated that the virus never spread outside of Surrey County. 
The United Kingdom and the European Commission removed all restrictions 
in Great Britain on December 31, 2007.
    Based on our discussions with the United Kingdom's veterinary 
officials and our evaluation of the situation, we have determined that: 
(1) FMD is not known to exist in the United Kingdom outside of Surrey 
County, England; (2) the United Kingdom maintained strict control over 
the importation and movement of animals and animal products from 
regions of higher risk and established barriers to the spread of FMD 
from Surrey County, England; (3) the United Kingdom maintained a 
surveillance system capable of detecting FMD should the disease have 
been introduced into other regions of the country; and (4) the United 
Kingdom has the laws, policies, and infrastructure to detect, respond 
to, and eliminate any occurrence of FMD. Consequently, until such time 
as we are able to conclude our own risk assessment of the Surrey County 
outbreaks, we have decided to remove the affected portion of the United 
Kingdom encompassing the administrative unit Surrey County, England, 
from the list of regions considered free of FMD. We are taking this 
action in order to protect the livestock of the United States from FMD.
    Therefore, we are amending the regulations in Sec.  94.1 to remove 
Surrey County, England, from the list of regions that are considered 
free of rinderpest and FMD. We are also amending the regulations in 
Sec.  94.11 to remove Surrey County, England, from the list of regions 
considered free of rinderpest and FMD but from which the importation of 
meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine into the United 
States is subject to additional restrictions. We are imposing this 
restriction retroactively to August 3, 2007, which is the date that the 
presence of FMD in this region of England was first confirmed.
    We recognize that the United Kingdom immediately responded to the 
detection of the disease by imposing restrictions on the movement of 
ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of 
ruminants and swine within and from England and initiating measures to 
eradicate the disease, and the outbreak appears to be well controlled 
at this time. Because of the United Kingdom's efforts to ensure that 
FMD does not spread beyond its borders, we intend to reassess the 
situation in accordance with the standards of the OIE at a future date. 
As part of the reassessment process, we will consider all comments 
received during the comment period on this interim rule. This future 
reassessment will determine whether it is necessary to continue to 
prohibit the importation of ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and 
other animal products of ruminants and swine from Surrey County, 
England.

Emergency Action

    This rulemaking is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the 
introduction of FMD into the United States. Under these circumstances, 
the Administrator has determined that prior notice and opportunity for 
public comment are contrary to the public interest and that there is 
good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553 for making this rule effective less than 
30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
    We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for 
this interim rule (see DATES above). After the comment period closes, 
we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document 
will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments 
we are making to the rule.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this 
action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review under 
Executive Order 12866.
    This emergency situation makes timely compliance with section 604 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601, et seq.) 
impracticable. We are currently assessing the potential economic 
effects of this action on small entities. Based on that assessment, we 
will either certify that the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities or publish a 
regulatory flexibility analysis.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and 
regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has retroactive 
effect to August 3, 2007; and (3) does not require administrative 
proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this 
rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This interim rule contains no information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.).

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 94

    Animal diseases, Imports, Livestock, Meat and meat products, Milk, 
Poultry

[[Page 5426]]

and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.


0
Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 94 as follows:

PART 94--RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, FOWL PEST (FOWL 
PLAGUE), EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL 
SWINE FEVER, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND 
RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 94 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 
U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.


Sec.  94.1  [Amended]

0
2. In Sec.  94.1, paragraph (a)(2) is amended by adding the words 
``(except for Surrey County, England)'' immediately after the words 
``United Kingdom.''


Sec.  94.11  [Amended]

0
3. In Sec.  94.11, paragraph (a) is amended by adding the words 
``(except for Surrey County, England)'' immediately after the words 
``United Kingdom.''

    Done in Washington, DC, this 24th day of January 2008.
Paul R. Eggert,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-1653 Filed 1-29-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P