[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 205 (Monday, October 25, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65431-65432]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-26849]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 94

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0077]


Change in Disease Status of Japan 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 Japan from 
the list of regions considered to be free of foot-and-mouth disease 
(FMD) and also from the list of FMD-free regions that are subject to 
certain import restrictions on meat and meat products because of their 
proximity to or trading relationships with FMD- or rinderpest-affected 
countries. We are taking this action because the existence of FMD has 
been confirmed in Japan. This action restricts the importation of 
ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of 
ruminants and swine from that country and is necessary to prevent the 
introduction of FMD into the United States.

DATES: This interim rule is effective October 25, 2010. However, we are 
imposing this restriction retroactively to April 20, 2010. We will 
consider all comments that we receive on or before December 27, 2010.

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-2010-0077 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0077, 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-2010-0077.
    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. Kelly Rhodes, Senior Staff 
Veterinarian, Regionalization Evaluation Services--Import, 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 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.
    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. Japan 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. Japan has been 
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 April 20, 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and 
Fisheries of Japan reported an outbreak of FMD in that country to the 
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In response, APHIS 
administratively issued temporary restrictions on commodities from 
Japan that could harbor FMD virus. Since that date, Japan has reported 
FMD on a total of 292 premises. No new cases have been diagnosed since 
July 4, 2010. We are amending the regulations in Sec.  94.1(a)(1) to 
remove Japan from the list of regions free of rinderpest and FMD and 
are amending the regulations in Sec.  94.1(a)(3) to add Japan to the 
list of regions free of rinderpest. We are also amending the 
regulations in Sec.  94.11 to remove Japan 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.
    Additionally, we are making a nonsubstantive change to Sec.  94.27 
to clarify our intent regarding that section. The provisions of Sec.  
94.27 allow the importation from Japan of whole cuts of boneless beef 
derived from cattle that meet specified conditions to mitigate the risk 
of introducing bovine

[[Page 65432]]

spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the United States. The 
introductory text in Sec.  94.27 indicates that beef meeting the 
conditions of that section is eligible for importation into the United 
States, notwithstanding any other provisions of part 94. Interpreted 
literally, that wording would supersede the prohibitions being imposed 
by this interim rule with regard to FMD. However, that is not our 
intent. When Sec.  94.27 was added to the regulations in 2005, the 
intent behind the ``notwithstanding'' wording was to reflect our 
determination that qualifying beef from Japan could be safely imported 
into the United States with regard to BSE, even though Japan was listed 
in Sec.  94.18 as a country in which BSE exists. To clarify that 
intent, we are revising the introductory text of Sec.  94.27 to 
indicate that section is applicable notwithstanding any provisions of 
Sec.  94.18. However, any other applicable restrictions set forth in 
part 94 still apply and the importation of any fresh beef from Japan is 
prohibited as long as Japan is not listed as a country free of FMD.
    Although we are removing Japan from the list of regions considered 
free of rinderpest and FMD, we recognize that the Ministry of 
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan has responded to the 
detection of FMD by imposing restrictions on the movement of ruminants, 
swine, and ruminant and swine products from FMD-affected areas; by 
conducting heightened surveillance activities; and by initiating 
measures to eradicate the disease. As noted above, no new cases of FMD 
have been diagnosed in Japan since July 4, 2010. We intend to reassess 
this situation at a future date in accordance with the standards of the 
OIE. As part of that reassessment process, we will consider all 
comments received on this interim rule. The future reassessment will 
determine whether we can restore Japan to the list of regions in which 
FMD is not known to exist.

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 interim rule is subject to Executive Order 12866. However, for 
this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review 
under Executive Order 12866.
    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 
the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. This 
interim rule is not expected to have an immediate or significant 
economic impact on small entities producing beef and swine products in 
the United States. As cattle and swine in Japan are culled due to the 
FMD outbreak there and supplies of beef and pork products become 
tighter in Japan, there may be an increase in the demand for U.S. beef 
and pork products. With regard to imports, beef imported from Japan is 
a unique product that serves a high-priced specialty market. Although 
entities that purchase beef from Japan will be affected by this rule, 
farms in the United States that raise cattle for this type of beef may 
benefit from the prohibition on imports of beef from Japan. We invite 
comment on our full economic analysis, which is posted with this 
interim rule on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for 
instructions for accessing Regulations.gov) and may also be obtained 
from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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 April 20, 2010; 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 and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.


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

PART 94--RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, EXOTIC NEWCASTLE 
DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, SWINE 
VESICULAR DISEASE, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED 
AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS

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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.


 94.1  [Amended]

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2. Section 94.1 is amended as follows:
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a. In paragraph (a)(2), by removing the word ``Japan,''.
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b. In paragraph (a)(3), by adding the word ``Japan,'' immediately 
before the word ``Namibia''.


94.11  [Amended]

0
3. In Sec.  94.11, paragraph (a) is amended by removing the word 
``Japan,''.


Sec.  94.27  [Amended]

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4. In Sec.  94.27, the introductory text is amended by removing the 
words ``Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part,'' and adding 
in their place the words ``Notwithstanding the provisions of Sec.  
94.18,''.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 19th day of October 2010.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-26849 Filed 10-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P