[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 9, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6347-6348]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2846]



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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0037]


Notice of Determination of Pest-Free Areas in the Republic of 
South Africa

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that we are recognizing 16 
additional magisterial districts in 3 provinces in the Republic of 
South Africa as pest-free areas for citrus black spot. Based on our 
site visit to the area and our review of the documentation submitted by 
South Africa's national plant protection organization, which we made 
available to the public for review and comment through a previous 
notice, the Administrator has determined that those districts meet the 
criteria in our regulations for recognition as pest-free areas for 
citrus black spot.

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 9, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Phillip B. Grove, Regulatory 
Coordination Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, APHIS, 
4700 River Road Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-6280.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits 
and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-50, 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. One of the designated phytosanitary measures is 
that the fruits or vegetables are imported from a pest-free area in the 
country of origin that meets the requirements of Sec.  319.56-5 for 
freedom from that pest and are accompanied by a phytosanitary 
certificate stating that the fruits or vegetables originated in a pest-
free area in the country of origin.
    Under the regulations in Sec.  319.56-5, APHIS requires that 
determinations of pest-free areas be made in accordance with the 
criteria for establishing freedom from pests found in International 
Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 4, ``Requirements for 
the Establishment of Pest-Free Areas.'' The international standard was 
established by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of 
the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization and is 
incorporated by reference in our regulations in 7 CFR 300.5. In 
addition, APHIS must also approve the survey protocol used to determine 
and maintain pest-free status, as well as protocols for actions to be 
performed upon detection of a pest. Pest-free areas are subject to 
audit by APHIS to verify their status.
    In accordance with that process, we published a notice\1\ in the 
Federal Register on July 27, 2009 (74 FR 36999-37000, Docket No. APHIS-
2009-0037), in which we announced the availability, for review and 
comment, of a commodity import evaluation document titled ``Recognition 
of Additional Magisterial Districts as Citrus Black Spot Pest-Free 
Areas for the Republic of South Africa.'' In this document, we examined 
the survey protocols and other information provided by South Africa's 
national plant protection organization (NPPO) relative to its system to 
establish freedom, phytosanitary measures to maintain freedom, and 
system for the verification of the maintenance of freedom from citrus 
black spot (Guignardia citricarpa).
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    \1\ To view the notice, the commodity import evaluation 
document, and the comments we received, go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0037).
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    We initially solicited comments on the notice for 60 days ending on 
September 25, 2009. However, we extended the comment period to October 
13, 2009, to give interested persons additional time to prepare and 
submit comments. We received 12 comments by that date, all but 1 of 
which supported the recognition of the 16 additional magisterial 
districts in 3 provinces in South Africa as pest-free areas. Commenters 
included members of Congress, a diplomatic official, fumigators, 
importers, distributors, packers, growers, and a citrus marketing 
association.
    The commenter who disagreed with our action to recognize the pest-
free areas cited two issues.
    The first issue concerns the reliability of the data used by APHIS 
to support its recognition of pest-free areas for citrus black spot. 
The commenter stated that the survey data used by APHIS was largely 
derived from a sampling of noncommercial production blocks of citrus in 
the areas recognized as being pest-free, when most of the citrus 
destined for export to the United States would originate from 
commercial production blocks. The commenter suggested that APHIS obtain 
survey data specific to the commercial production blocks that will be 
exporting to the United States before recognizing these areas as being 
free of citrus black spot.
    The South African NPPO collected data from both commercial and 
noncommercial production blocks to ensure uniform coverage of the 
survey region, and examined the data from both types of blocks to 
determine the pest status of the areas of concern. Because relatively 
few citrus orchards are currently established in these areas, many of 
the trees surveyed for citrus black spot are located in home gardens 
and backyards. None of the samples taken in these areas indicated the 
presence of citrus black spot.
    The second issue raised by the commenter focused on the 
effectiveness of ongoing pest risk assessment and monitoring efforts in 
those areas recognized by APHIS as being pest-free. As support, the 
commenter cited a document produced by a European Union panel of plant 
health experts that assessed pest risk data provided by the South 
African NPPO.\2\ The panel noted in its assessment that IPPC standards 
require that an intensive continuous monitoring program be in place to 
maintain a pest-free area, but that the NPPO of South Africa did not 
provide sufficient data for an accurate assessment of their monitoring 
program.
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    \2\ ``Pest risk assessment and additional evidence provided by 
South Africa on Guignardia citricarpa Kiely, citrus black spot 
fungus-CBS.'' EFSA Journal (2008) 925: 1-4.
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    The NPPO of South Africa is a signatory to the IPPC and therefore 
observes phytosanitary treatment standards that are recognized by other 
signatories, including the United States. Under the regulations in 
Sec.  319.56-5(a), APHIS requires that determinations of pest-free 
areas be made in accordance with standards established by the IPPC. In 
addition, Sec.  319.56-5(b) requires that the survey protocol used by a 
foreign NPPO to determine and maintain pest-free status be approved by 
APHIS.
    South Africa participates in an APHIS preclearance program for 
citrus intended for export to the United States. We only allow citrus 
from APHIS-approved pest-free areas to participate in the program. In 
the many years of import history with the preclearance program, which 
began in the mid-1990s,

[[Page 6348]]

we have not detected citrus black spot. However, if it were detected, 
export of the host material to the United States would be suspended 
from the production area and APHIS would request South Africa to 
conduct an investigation.
    Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  319.56-5(c), we are announcing 
the Administrator's determination that the magisterial districts of 
Boshof, Fauresmith, Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, and Philippolis in the 
Free State Province; Christiania and Taung in the North West Province; 
and Barkly-wes/west, Gordonia, Hay, Herbert, Hopetown, Kenhardt, 
Kimberely, Namakwaland, and Prieska in the Northern Cape Province meet 
the criteria of Sec.  319.56-5(a) and (b) with respect to freedom from 
citrus black spot. Accordingly, we are recognizing those magisterial 
districts as pest-free areas for citrus black spot and have added them 
to the list of pest-free areas, which may be viewed on the Internet at 
(http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/DesignatedPestFreeAreas.pdf). The list of pest-free areas may 
also be obtained from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.
    Done in Washington, DC, this 3\rd\ day of February 2010.

Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-2846 Filed 2-8-10: 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S