[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 20 (Wednesday, January 30, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5495-5496]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-1682]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0128]


Notice of Decision to Issue Permits for the Importation of Sweet 
Cherries From Australia Into the Continental United States and Hawaii

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our decision to begin issuing 
permits for the importation into the continental United States and 
Hawaii of sweet cherries from Australia. Based on the findings of a 
pest risk analysis, which we made available to the public for review 
and comment through a previous notice, we believe that the application 
of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to 
mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or 
noxious weeds via the importation of sweet cherries from Australia.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 30, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Donna L. West, Senior Import 
Specialist, Commodity Import Analysis and Operations, Plant Health 
Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 734-8758.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits 
and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56 through 319.56-47, referred to below as 
the regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits or restricts 
the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from 
certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced 
into and spread within the United States.
    Section 319.56-4 of the regulations contains a performance-based 
process for approving the importation of commodities that, based on the 
findings of a pest risk analysis, can be safely imported subject to one 
or more of the designated phytosanitary measures listed in paragraph 
(b) of that section. Under that process, APHIS publishes a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing the availability of the pest risk 
analysis that evaluates the risks associated with the importation of a 
particular fruit or vegetable. Following the close of the 60-day 
comment period, APHIS may begin issuing permits for importation of the 
fruit or vegetable subject to the identified designated measures if: 
(1) No comments were received on the pest risk analysis; (2) the 
comments on the pest risk analysis revealed that no changes to the pest 
risk analysis were necessary; or (3) changes to the pest risk analysis 
were made in response to public comments, but the changes did not 
affect the overall conclusions of the analysis and the Administrator's 
determination of risk.
    In accordance with that process, we published a notice \1\ in the 
Federal Register on October 12, 2007 (72 FR 58047-58048, Docket No. 
APHIS-2007-0128), in which we announced the availability, for review 
and comment, of a pest risk analysis that evaluates the risks 
associated with the importation into the continental United States and 
Hawaii of sweet cherries from Australia. We solicited comments on the 
notice for 60 days ending on December 11, 2007. We received one comment 
by that date, from a representative of Australia's Department of 
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
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    \1\ To view the notice, the pest risk analysis, and the comment 
we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0128.
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    The commenter supported the findings of the pest risk analysis, but 
noted that her agency has concerns regarding the commercial viability 
of one of the treatment options we spelled out for Australian cherries. 
The commenter stated that the methyl bromide fumigation followed by 
cold treatment is considered by the Australian industry to damage the 
fruit and could thus reduce its commercial appeal. Based on those 
concerns, the

[[Page 5496]]

commenter urged APHIS to complete its review of the data supporting a 
cold treatment-only option for treating cherries. The commenter did 
not, however, question the efficacy of the combination treatment or 
otherwise suggest that the overall conclusions of the analysis and the 
Administrator's determination of risk should be changed.
    Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in Sec.  319.56-
4(c)(2)(ii), we are announcing our decision to begin issuing permits 
for the importation into the continental United States and Hawaii of 
sweet cherries from Australia subject to the following conditions:
     The fruit must be part of a commercial consignment as 
defined in 7 CFR 319.56-2.
     The fruit must either originate from an APHIS-approved 
fruit fly free area or be treated in accordance with the phytosanitary 
treatments regulations in 7 CFR part 305. This may entail treatment 
with T108-a-1/2/3 [fumigation with methyl bromide followed by cold 
treatment as provided in 7 CFR 305.10(a)] or irradiation using 150 Gy 
as the minimum absorbed dose and meeting all other relevant 
requirements in 7 CFR 305.31.
     Each consignment must be accompanied by a phytosanitary 
certificate issued by the Australian National Plant Protection 
Organization (NPPO) certifying that the fruit either received the 
required treatment or originated from a fruit fly free area. The NPPO 
must also include an additional declaration in the phytosanitary 
certificate that states: ``The fruit in this shipment was inspected and 
found free of Epiphyas postvittana.''
     The fruit will also be subject to inspection at the port 
of entry should inspectors determine that such inspection is necessary.
    These conditions will be listed in the fruits and vegetables manual 
(available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/
ports/downloads/fv.pdf). In addition to these specific measures, the 
sweet cherries will be subject to the general requirements listed in 
Sec.  319.56-3 that are applicable to the importation of all fruits and 
vegetables.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 25th day of January 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-1682 Filed 1-29-08; 8:45 am]
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