[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 149 (Wednesday, August 4, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46901-46902]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-19135]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0140]


Changes to Treatments for Sweet Cherries from Australia and 
Irradiation Dose for Mediterranean Fruit Fly

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of changes to phytosanitary treatments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that we are adding new approved 
phytosanitary treatment schedules to the Plant Protection and 
Quarantine Treatment Manual for sweet cherries imported from Australia 
into the United States. We are also adding to the treatment manual a 
new approved irradiation dose for Mediterranean fruit fly of 100 gray. 
These new treatments will continue to prevent the introduction or 
interstate movement of quarantine pests in the United States.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Inder P.S. Gadh, Senior Risk 
Manager-Treatments, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1231; (301) 734-0627.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The phytosanitary treatments regulations contained in 7 CFR part 
305 (referred to below as the regulations) set out general requirements 
for conducting treatments indicated in the Plant Protection and 
Quarantine (PPQ) Treatment Manual\1\ for fruits, vegetables, and 
articles to prevent the introduction or dissemination of plant pests or 
noxious weeds into or through the United States.
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    \1\ The PPQ Treatment Manual can be viewed on the Internet at 
(http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/treatment.shtml).
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    On October 19, 2009, we published in the Federal Register (74 FR 
53424-53430, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0140) a proposal\2\ to amend the 
regulations by adding new treatment schedules for sweet cherries and 
for certain species of citrus fruit imported from Australia into the 
United States.\3\ We also proposed to establish an approved irradiation 
dose for Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) of 100 gray. Our analysis of 
the efficacy of the proposed treatments was presented in a treatment 
evaluation document that was made available with the proposed rule.
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    \2\ To view the proposed rule, the comments we received, and the 
treatment evaluation document, go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0140).
    \3\ The treatment schedules for citrus fruit from Australia that 
we had proposed will be published in the PPQ Treatment Manual at a 
later date. When these schedules are published, we will publish a 
notice of these changes in the Federal Register.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
December 18, 2009, and received five comments by that date. They were 
from a State plant protection official, a research entomologist, a 
foreign national plant protection organization representative, and two 
students. We have carefully considered the comments we received. One 
commenter simply pointed out a misspelling in a footnote. The issues 
raised by the remaining commenters are discussed below.
    One commenter, while agreeing with the changes we proposed, 
expressed concern that the proposal mentioned no requirement for field 
monitoring of fruit flies or subsequent field treatment when fruit fly 
populations exceed a defined limit. The commenter added that even if 
the treatments we propose achieve a probit-9 level of efficacy, the 
possibility remains that heavy infestations of fruit flies could 
overwhelm the treatments.
    The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Australia is a 
signatory to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and 
therefore observes IPPC guidelines for pest surveillance, monitoring, 
and

[[Page 46902]]

information collection in its production areas. Should fruit fly 
populations increase in these areas, the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS) would have the information and resources 
readily at hand to respond effectively.
    Another commenter who agreed with our proposed treatment changes 
asked whether the reduced irradiation dose of 100 gray we proposed as a 
treatment for Medfly would result in improved fruit quality and longer 
shelf life for sweet cherries.
    We have no evidence to suggest that a 100 gray dose would result in 
improved fruit quality or shelf life. In fact, our experience indicates 
that an irradiation dose of 150 gray has no discernible positive or 
negative effect on fruit quality, making it less likely that a dose of 
100 gray will have any such effect.
    The same commenter also wanted to know if the reduced irradiation 
dose we proposed for Medfly would be effective for other types of fruit 
flies.
    We have established that the 100 gray dose is effective against 
certain species of Anastrepha and Bactrocera fruit flies and the 
approved irradiation doses listed for these species in the PPQ 
Treatment Manual are already 100 gray or lower. For all other fruit 
flies of the family Tephritidae, the approved dose is 150 gray. 
Additional testing would be necessary to confirm whether a 100 gray 
dose would serve as an efficacious treatment for other species of fruit 
fly.
    One commenter stated that the proposed treatment changes would 
allow the Australian cherry industry to benefit unfairly from lower 
treatment costs, thereby putting emerging cherry-producing countries in 
the Middle East such as Turkey and Iran at an economic disadvantage in 
the world cherry market.
    The treatments discussed in the proposed rule with respect to 
Australia are specific to the pests present there, Medfly and 
Queensland fruit fly, and were evaluated with respect to their 
efficacy, not their costs. Cherries from another region with the same 
pest complex could be treated in the same manner, so we disagree that 
Australian cherry producers are receiving any sort of unfair benefit.
    Another commenter, a representative of the Australian NPPO, 
observed that the State of Tasmania is not included in the areas of 
Australia listed by APHIS as free of fruit flies. The commenter noted 
that the APHIS Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements database 
specifically lists cherries, apples, and pears from Tasmania as being 
permitted access to the United States without the requirement for a 
phytosanitary treatment for fruit flies. The commenter asked that 
Tasmania be added to APHIS' list of approved pest-free areas.
    For a given plant pest, APHIS makes a distinction between pest-free 
areas and areas that have never been known to support that pest in 
sufficient numbers to be a threat to agriculture; Tasmania is an 
example of the latter with regard to fruit flies. If a particular 
quarantine pest has never been known to be associated with the 
regulated article in the country or region of origin, we do not usually 
include that country or region on the list of pest-free areas for that 
pest. Because the cooler climate and geographical isolation of Tasmania 
inhibit a resident fruit fly population from establishing itself there, 
we do not consider it necessary to include Tasmania on the list of 
approved pest-free areas.

Revision of Treatments Regulations

    Following the publication of our October 2009 proposed rule, we 
published a final rule that amended the regulations by removing all 
phytosanitary treatments and treatment schedules from 7 CFR part 305, 
while retaining general treatment requirements.\4\ The sections in part 
305 we had proposed to amend no longer exist, so the modified 
treatments will instead be added to the appropriate sections of the PPQ 
Treatment Manual. The regulations now indicate that all approved 
treatments and treatment schedules are contained in the PPQ Treatment 
Manual.
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    \4\ 75 FR 4228-4253, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0022, published 
January 26, 2010, and effective February 25, 2010.
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    Accordingly, the PPQ Treatment Manual has been amended to include 
the new treatments for sweet cherries from Australia and a specific 
irradiation dose of 100 gray for Medfly.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 
136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.
    Done in Washington, DC, this 29\th\ day of July 2010.

Kevin Shea
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-19135 Filed 8-3-10; 10:12 am]
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