[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 64 (Wednesday, April 2, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17930-17935]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-6799]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 64 / Wednesday, April 2, 2008 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 17930]]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Parts 301 and 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0189]
RIN 0579-AC67


Movement of Hass Avocados From Areas Where Mexican Fruit Fly or 
Sapote Fruit Fly Exist

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to relieve certain restrictions regarding the 
movement of Hass variety avocados. Specifically, we are proposing to 
amend our domestic quarantined regulations to provide for the 
interstate movement of Hass avocados from Mexican fruit fly and sapote 
fruit fly quarantined areas in the United States with a certificate if 
the fruit is safeguarded after harvest in accordance with specific 
measures. We are also proposing to amend our foreign quarantined 
regulations to remove trapping and bait spray treatment requirements 
related to Anastrepha spp. fruit flies for imported Hass avocados from 
Michoacan, Mexico. These actions are warranted in light of research 
demonstrating the limited host status of Hass avocados to various 
species of fruit flies in the genus Anastrepha, including Mexican fruit 
fly and sapote fruit fly. By amending our domestic and foreign 
quarantined regulations, we would make our domestic and foreign 
requirements for movement of Hass avocados consistent with each other 
and would relieve restrictions for Mexican Hass avocado producers. In 
addition, this action would provide an alternative means for Hass 
avocados to be moved interstate if the avocados originate from a 
Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly quarantined area in the United 
States.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 
2, 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-2006-0189 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-2006-0189, 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-2006-0189.
    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: Regarding the interstate movement of 
Hass avocados from Mexican fruit fly and sapote fruit fly quarantined 
areas, contact Mr. Wayne D. Burnett, Domestic Coordinator, Fruit Fly 
Exclusion and Detection, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 137, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-6553. Regarding import conditions 
for Hass avocados from Mexico, contact Mr. David B. Lamb, Import 
Specialist, Commodity Import Analysis and Operations, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 
River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4312.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The domestic Mexican fruit fly regulations, contained in 7 CFR 
301.64 through 301.64-10, and the domestic sapote fruit fly 
regulations, contained in 7 CFR 301.99 through 301.99-10 (referred to 
below as the regulations), were established to prevent the spread of 
the Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) and the sapote fruit fly 
(Anastrepha serpentina), respectively, into noninfested areas of the 
United States. The regulations designate soil and many fruits, nuts, 
vegetables, and berries as regulated articles and impose restrictions 
on the interstate movement of those regulated articles from regulated 
areas.
    Avocado, Persea americana (including the variety Hass), is listed 
as a regulated article in the regulations in Sec. Sec.  301.64-2 and 
301.99-2. Because avocados are listed as regulated articles, they may 
not be moved interstate from a quarantined area unless the movement is 
authorized by a certificate or a limited permit. In general, avocados 
may be eligible for a certificate if a bait spray is applied to the 
production site beginning prior to harvest and continuing through the 
end of harvest or if a post-harvest irradiation treatment is applied to 
the fruit. To be eligible for a limited permit, a regulated article 
must be moved to a specific destination for specialized handling, 
utilization or processing, or for treatment and meet all other 
applicable provisions of the regulations.
    Under the regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56 through 319.56-47), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) 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. The requirements for importing Hass variety avocados 
into the United States from Michoacan, Mexico are described in Sec.  
319.56-30. Those requirements include pest surveys and pest risk-
reducing practices, treatment, packinghouse procedures, inspection, and 
shipping procedures.
    In a final rule published on November 30, 2004, in the Federal 
Register (69 FR 69749-69722, Docket No. 03-022-5) and made effective on 
January 31, 2005, we amended the regulations governing the importation 
of fruits and vegetables to expand the number of States in which fresh 
Hass avocado fruit grown in approved orchards in approved 
municipalities in Michoacan, Mexico, may be distributed. Some 
commenters to the proposed rule stated that the research \1\ used by 
APHIS in its risk

[[Page 17931]]

assessment \2\ supported removing Anastrepha ludens and Anastrepha 
striata from the list of pests of Hass avocados grown in Mexico that 
follow the pathway. We stated that while Hass avocados are a ``very 
poor host'' of Mexican fruit fly, we planned to work with Mexico, the 
Agricultural Research Service, and independent researchers in the 
scientific community to further evaluate the host status issue of Hass 
avocado and Anastrepha spp. fruit flies and determine which species 
should be removed from the pest list.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Aluja, M., F. Diaz-Fleischer, and J. Arrendondo, Nonhost 
Status of Commercial Persea americana `Hass' to Anastrepha ludens, 
Anastrepha obliqua, Anastrepha serpentina and Anastrepha striata 
(Diptera: Tephritidae) in Mexico, Journal of Economic Entomology, 
Volume 97, Issue 2 (April 2004).
    \2\ USDA, 2004. Importation of Avocado Fruit (Persea americana 
Mill. var. Hass) from Mexico. A Risk Assessment. November 2004, 
USDA, APHIS, PPQ, CPHST, MD.
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    In August 2006, the California Avocado Commission submitted a 
request that we relieve restrictions on the movement of avocados under 
our domestic Mexican fruit fly and sapote fruit fly regulations. In 
July 2006, the Government of Mexico also requested that APHIS amend the 
regulations for the movement of Hass avocados from Michoacan, Mexico 
into the United States. Both requests asked APHIS to consider the Aluja 
et al. (2004) study regarding the limited host status of Hass avocados 
to various species of fruit flies in the genus Anastrepha, including 
Mexican fruit fly and sapote fruit fly. In response to the request from 
the Government of Mexico, we prepared a risk management document, 
titled ``Removal of Anastrepha Fruit Fly Trapping Requirements from 
Mexican `Hass' Avocados for Importation into the United States,'' which 
evaluated the risk for the introduction of Anastrepha spp. from Mexican 
Hass avocados. The conclusions of the risk management document 
supported the Aluja et al. study, which demonstrated that Hass avocados 
are not a natural host (i.e., a host under field conditions) of 
Anastrepha spp., and are only marginally susceptible to attack by 
Mexican fruit fly 24 hours after being removed from the tree. Copies of 
the risk management document may be obtained from the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov).
    Based on the findings of the Aluja et al. research and the risk 
management document, we are proposing to amend the import regulations 
to remove trapping requirements for Anastrepha spp. fruit flies for 
Hass avocados imported from Mexico. The findings of the risk management 
document also support providing alternatives to treatment for domestic 
Hass avocado producers. Therefore, we are also proposing to provide for 
the interstate movement of Hass avocados from Mexican fruit fly and 
sapote fruit fly domestic quarantined areas under certificate if the 
fruit is safeguarded after harvest in accordance with specific 
phytosanitary measures. Those measures would be similar to those that 
currently apply to fruit harvested under the Mexican avocado import 
program, which has been in place since 1997 and has a proven record of 
efficacy. The proposed measures do not include all of the provisions 
from the Mexican avocado import program (e.g., removal of dead 
branches, cleaning of avocado fruit, etc.) because some of those 
measures address risks posed by pests that are not of concern in the 
United States (e.g., seed and stem weevils). These proposed changes are 
discussed in more detail in the following paragraphs.

Orchard Sanitation and Safeguarding Requirements

    In our domestic Mexican fruit fly and sapote fruit fly regulations, 
we would add a new section (Sec. Sec.  301.64-11(a) and 301.99-11(a), 
respectively) in which we would set forth orchard sanitation measures 
that would be required for Hass avocados from any Mexican fruit fly or 
sapote fruit fly quarantined area before a certificate for the 
interstate movement of Hass avocados could be issued. These provisions 
would require that fallen fruit not be included in field boxes of fruit 
to be packed for shipping. Fallen avocado fruit can be overripe or 
damaged, and such fruit is more likely to be infested by pests.
    We would also require that harvested avocados be moved from the 
orchard to the packinghouse within 3 hours of harvest; if more than 3 
hours pass between the time the avocados are harvested and the time 
they are moved to the packinghouse, the avocados would have to be 
protected from fruit fly infestation while awaiting transport. When the 
avocados are moved from the orchard to the packinghouse, they would 
have to be protected from fruit fly infestations and be accompanied by 
a field record indicating the location of the orchard where the 
avocados originated.

Packinghouse Requirements

    In proposed Sec. Sec.  301.64-11(b) and 301.99-11(b), we would set 
forth packinghouse requirements for Hass avocados packed at 
packinghouses inside areas quarantined for Mexican fruit fly and sapote 
fruit fly, respectively. All windows and other openings in the 
packinghouse would have to be covered by screening with openings of not 
more than 1.6 mm to prevent the entry of insects. Also, packinghouses 
would have to have double-door systems at the entrances to the 
facility, as well as at the entrance to the packing area for avocados 
intended for interstate movement.
    The identity of the avocados would have to be maintained from the 
field boxes or containers to the shipping boxes. The fruit would have 
to be packed in field boxes or containers with the grower and 
packinghouse clearly identified on those boxes. Maintaining the 
identity of the avocados from the field boxes or containers to the 
shipping boxes would ensure that any infested fruit could be traced 
back to the orchard where it was grown.
    After being loaded into the boxes, the avocados would have to be 
placed into a refrigerated truck or refrigerated container for transit 
through the quarantined area. Prior to leaving the packinghouse, the 
truck or container would have to be secured with a seal that would be 
broken when the truck or container is opened. Once sealed, the 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated container would have to remain 
unopened until it is outside the quarantined area. Any avocados that 
had not been loaded into a refrigerated truck or refrigerated container 
by the end of the workday would have to be kept inside the screened 
packinghouse.

Importation of Hass Avocados From Mexico

    As stated previously in this document, the Government of Mexico 
requested that APHIS relieve restrictions on the movement of Hass 
avocados from Mexico into the United States after considering research 
on the nonhost status of Hass avocados to Anastrepha spp. In light of 
this evidence, we believe that trapping requirements for Anastrepha 
spp. fruit flies are no longer warranted. Therefore, we are proposing 
to amend Sec.  319.56-30 by removing paragraph (c)(2)(ii), which 
contains trapping and bait spray requirements for Anastrepha spp. fruit 
flies. We would continue to require Mexican Hass avocados to undergo 
the post-harvest safeguarding and other requirements in Sec.  319.56-30 
to be eligible for importation into the United States.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. 
The rule has been determined to be not

[[Page 17932]]

significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, 
has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    We are proposing to relieve certain restrictions regarding the 
interstate movement of Hass variety avocados from domestic quarantined 
areas and provide for an alternate means to obtain a certificate for 
interstate transport. Specifically, we are proposing to provide for the 
interstate movement of Hass avocados from Mexican fruit fly and sapote 
fruit fly domestic quarantined areas under certificate if the fruit is 
safeguarded after harvest in accordance with certain phytosanitary 
measures. We are also proposing to remove trapping and bait spray 
treatment requirements related to Anastrepha spp. fruit flies for 
imported Hass avocados from Mexico. This action is warranted in light 
of research demonstrating the limited host status of Hass avocados to 
various species of fruit flies in the genus Anastrepha, including 
Mexican fruit fly and sapote fruit fly. This action would make our 
domestic and foreign requirements for movement of Hass avocados 
consistent and would relieve restrictions for Mexican Hass avocado 
producers. In addition, this action would provide an alternative means 
for Hass avocados to be moved interstate if the avocados originate from 
a Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly domestic quarantined area in 
the United States.

Effects on Small Entities

    In 2006, the United States produced more than 282,000 tons of 
avocados worth approximately $361 million. California was responsible 
for producing more than 95 percent of all avocados in the United 
States. According to the California Avocado Commission, of the nearly 
500 varieties of avocado, 7 varieties are grown commercially in 
California and the Hass variety accounts for approximately 95 percent 
of the total crop production. Avocado production in Mexico was 
estimated at more than 1 million tons in 2006. Hass avocado exports to 
the United States from Mexico in 2006 were estimated to be greater than 
130,000 tons.\3\
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    \3\ USDA-FAS. ``Mexico Avocado Annual 2005.'' Gain Report Number 
MX5107.

                                     Table 1.--U.S. Avocado Production, 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Production
                              State                                Bearing acres       Tons       value ($1,000)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
California......................................................          62,000         270,000       $ 345,600
Florida.........................................................           5,300          12,000          15,360
Hawaii..........................................................             300             400             512
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    U.S. Total..................................................          67,600         282,400        361,472
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: USDA--National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2006.

    According to the California Avocado Commission, California avocado 
producers averaged approximately 9,700 pounds of avocados per bearing 
acre, worth approximately $0.57 per pound in 2006, and yielding a gross 
return per bearing acre of approximately $5,500. The cash costs of 
avocado production depend upon the age of the orchard and the yield per 
acre.\4\ A study that investigated the production costs and 
profitability of avocado production in California's Ventura and Santa 
Barbara Counties found that cash costs are equivalent to approximately 
42 percent of gross revenue.\5\ In table 2, we use this percentage to 
evaluate the savings to producers that may be realized because of the 
proposed changes. Holding all else constant, cash costs of production 
in 2006 were approximately $2,300 per acre, and net returns over cash 
costs were approximately $3,200 per acre.
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    \4\ Cash costs include herbicide/pesticide/rodenticide, 
treatment, fertilizer, water, labor, fuel, etc. and exclude such 
overhead items as land rent, equipment, buildings, tools, irrigation 
systems, sprinklers, and amortized establishment expenses.
    \5\ Takele, et al., ``Avocado Sample Establishment and 
Production Costs and Profitability Analysis for Ventura and Santa 
Barbara Counties, Based on 2001 Data Collected in Ventura and Santa 
Barbara Counties, California,'' UCCE Southern California.
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    The seasonal cost of treating avocado orchards infested with 
Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly ranges from $5 per acre for the 
ground application of malathion to $230 per acre for the aerial 
application of malathion. The seasonal cost of treating organic avocado 
orchards infested with fruit flies ranges from $96 per acre for the 
ground application of Naturalyte,\6\ to $300 per acre for the aerial 
application of Naturalyte. The costs of treatment for fruit flies in 
this example could result in a decrease in net returns over cash costs 
ranging from less than 1 percent to more than 9 percent, as indicated 
in table 2. Both U.S. and Mexican avocado producers would benefit by 
eliminating these costs of treating fruit fly infested avocado groves 
without risking the spread of the fruit flies.
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    \6\ Spinosad is the first active ingredient in Naturalyte, a 
class of insect control products approved for organic products.

        Table 2.--Example of Effects of Fruit Fly Treatment Costs on Avocado Producers' Net Returns, 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Decrease in
                                                                                  Cash costs \1\    net returns
   Impact of fruit fly treatment costs on net returns per acre     Cost per acre    (including     \2\ over cash
                                                                                     treatment         costs
                                                                                  cost) per acre     (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ground treatment of Malathion...................................              $5          $2,315            0.16
Aerial treatment of Malathion...................................             230           2,540            7.2
Ground treatment of Naturalyte..................................              96           2,406            3
Aerial treatment of Naturalyte..................................             300           2,610            9.4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Cash costs without treatment are $2,310 per acre.
\2\ Net returns are $3,190 per acre (Gross returns minus cash costs, $5,500-2,310 = $3,190).


[[Page 17933]]

    In 2002, approximately 8,000 acres of avocados were treated in San 
Diego County, CA, due to a Mexican fruit fly infestation. The costs of 
applying Malathion or Naturalyte were estimated to be greater than $1 
million.
    Under the Small Business Administration's criteria, the domestic 
Hass avocado producers potentially affected by this action are 
considered small entities if they have annual receipts of not more than 
$750,000.\7\ According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture, 98 percent of 
avocado farms had less than 100 acres under production, resulting in 
annual receipts of not more than $750,000.\8\
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    \7\ NAICS code 111339, Other Non-citrus Fruit Farming.
    \8\ California Avocado Commission. Gross value per avocado acre: 
$4,314, calendar year 2002.
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    The proposed changes would harmonize the domestic and foreign 
requirements for movement of Hass avocados from areas where Mexican 
fruit fly or sapote fruit fly are present. In Mexican fruit fly or 
sapote fruit fly domestic quarantined areas, the proposed changes would 
benefit the Hass avocado producers within the United States by 
eliminating the cost of bait spray treatment.
    The average domestic avocado producer would avoid the 0.16 to 9.4 
percent decrease in net returns over cash costs indicated in table 2. 
However, the savings would be realized only when an area is under 
quarantine for Mexican fruit fly or sapote fruit fly since bait sprays 
are required only in quarantined areas.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State 
and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule 
will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this 
rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before 
parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

    To provide the public with documentation of APHIS' review and 
analysis of any potential environmental impacts associated with the 
movement of Hass avocados from areas where Mexican fruit fly and sapote 
fruit fly exist, we have prepared an environmental assessment. The 
environmental assessment was prepared in accordance with: (1) The 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality 
for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) 
APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).
    The environmental assessment may be viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room. (Instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning 
of this proposed rule.) In addition, copies may be obtained by calling 
or writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been 
submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
Please send written comments to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, 
DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-
2006-0189. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2006-0189, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, 
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238, 
and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, room 404-W, 14th Street and 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to OMB is 
best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 
days of publication of this proposed rule.
    We are proposing to amend our domestic quarantined regulations to 
provide for the interstate movement of Hass avocados from Mexican fruit 
fly and sapote fruit fly domestic quarantined areas with a certificate 
if the fruit is safeguarded after harvest in accordance with specific 
measures. The proposed measures would necessitate the use of certain 
information collection activities, including the submission of 
certificates and field records as well as identifying orchards and 
packinghouses on field boxes and containers.
    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected 
agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who 
are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses).
    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 0.0416 hours per response.
    Respondents: U.S. Hass avocado producers.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 46.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 210.7826.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 9,696.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 403 hours. (Due to 
averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of 
the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per 
response.)
    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Mrs. 
Celeste Sickles, APHIS, (Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 
734-7477.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet 
and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities 
for citizen access to Government information and services, and for 
other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act 
compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste 
Sickles, APHIS'

[[Page 17934]]

Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 734-7477.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 301

    Agricultural commodities, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR parts 301 and 319 as 
follows:

PART 301--DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES

    1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, 
and 371.3.
    Section 301.75-15 issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Public Law 
106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 
issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Public Law 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 
(7 U.S.C. 1421 note).

    2. Section 301.64-5 is amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (a)(1)(iii), by removing the word ``and'' and 
adding the word ``or'' in its place.
    b. By adding a new paragraph (a)(1)(iv) to read as set forth below.


Sec.  301.64-5  Issuance and cancellation of certificates and limited 
permits.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iv) Determines that the regulated articles are Hass variety 
avocados that have been harvested, safeguarded, and packed in 
accordance with the conditions in Sec.  301.64-11; and
* * * * *
    3. A new Sec.  301.64-11 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  301.64-11  Conditions for interstate movement of Hass avocados 
from quarantined areas.

    (a) Orchard sanitation and safeguarding requirements. (1) Hass 
avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees may not be included in 
field boxes of fruit to be packed for shipping.
    (2) Harvested Hass avocados must be placed in field boxes or 
containers of field boxes that are marked to show the location of the 
orchard. The avocados must be moved from the orchard to the 
packinghouse within 3 hours of harvest or they must be protected from 
fruit fly infestation until moved.
    (3) Hass avocados must be protected from fruit fly infestations 
during their movement from the orchard to the packinghouse and must be 
accompanied by a field record indicating the location of the orchard 
where the avocados originated.
    (b) Packinghouse requirements. If Hass avocados are packed at a 
packinghouse inside the quarantined area, the following conditions must 
also be met:
    (1) All openings to the outside of the packinghouse must be covered 
by screening with openings of not more than 1.6 mm or by some other 
barrier that prevents insects from entering the packinghouse.
    (2) The packinghouse must have double doors at the entrance to the 
facility and at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados 
are packed.
    (3) The identity of the avocados must be maintained from field 
boxes or containers to the shipping boxes so the avocados can be traced 
back to the orchard in which they were grown.
    (4) The Hass avocados must be packed in boxes or crates. The boxes 
or crates must be clearly marked with the identity of the grower and 
the packinghouse.
    (5) The boxes must be placed in a refrigerated truck or 
refrigerated container and remain in that truck or container while in 
transit through the quarantined area. Prior to leaving the 
packinghouse, the truck or container must be secured with a seal that 
will be broken when the truck or container is opened. Once sealed, the 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated container must remain unopened until 
it is outside the quarantined area.
    (6) Any avocados that have not been packed or loaded into a 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated container by the end of the workday 
must be kept inside the screened packinghouse.
    4. Section 301.99-5 is amended as follows:
    (a) In paragraph (a)(1)(iii) by removing the word ``and'' and 
adding the word ``or'' in its place.
    (b) By adding a new paragraph (a)(1)(iv) to read as set forth 
below.


Sec.  301.99-5  Issuance and cancellation of certificates and limited 
permits.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iv) The regulated articles are Hass variety avocados that have 
been harvested, safeguarded, and packed in accordance with the 
conditions in Sec.  301.99-11; and
* * * * *
    5. A new Sec.  301.99-11 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  301.99-11  Conditions for interstate movement of Hass avocados 
from quarantined areas.

    (a) Orchard sanitation and safeguarding requirements. (1) Hass 
avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees may not be included in 
field boxes of fruit to be packed for shipping.
    (2) Harvested Hass avocados must be placed in field boxes or 
containers of field boxes that are marked to show the location of the 
orchard. The avocados must be moved from the orchard to the 
packinghouse within 3 hours of harvest or they must be protected from 
fruit fly infestation until moved.
    (3) Hass avocados must be protected from fruit fly infestations 
during their movement from the orchard to the packinghouse and must be 
accompanied by a field record indicating the location of the orchard 
where the avocados originated.
    (b) Packinghouse requirements. If Hass avocados are packed at a 
packinghouse inside the quarantined area, the following conditions must 
also be met:
    (1) All openings to the outside of the packinghouse must be covered 
by screening with openings of not more than 1.6 mm or by some other 
barrier that prevents insects from entering the packinghouse.
    (2) The packinghouse must have double doors at the entrance to the 
facility and at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados 
are packed.
    (3) The identity of the avocados must be maintained from field 
boxes or containers to the shipping boxes so the avocados can be traced 
back to the orchard in which they were grown.
    (4) The Hass avocados must be packed in boxes or crates. The boxes 
or crates must be clearly marked with the identity of the grower and 
the packinghouse.
    (5) The boxes must be placed in a refrigerated truck or 
refrigerated container and remain in that truck or container while in 
transit through the quarantined area. Prior to leaving the 
packinghouse, the truck or container must be secured with a seal that 
will be broken when the truck or container is opened. Once sealed, the 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated container must remain unopened until 
it is outside the quarantined area.
    (6) Any avocados that have not been packed or loaded into a 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated container by the end of the workday 
must be kept inside the screened packinghouse.

[[Page 17935]]

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

    6. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 
and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.


Sec.  319.56-30  [Amended]

    7. Section 319.56-30 is amended by removing paragraph (c)(2)(ii) 
and redesignating paragraphs (c)(2)(iii) through (c)(2)(vi) as 
paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) through (c)(2)(v), respectively.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 27th day of March 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-6799 Filed 4-1-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P