[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 209 (Friday, October 29, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66643-66644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-27426]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 209 / Friday, October 29, 2010 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 66643]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0016]
RIN 0579-AD15


Importation of Mexican Hass Avocados; Additional Shipping Options

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations for the importation of Hass 
avocados originating in Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, into the United 
States by adding the option to ship avocados to the United States in 
bulk shipping bins when safeguarding is maintained from the 
packinghouse to the port of first arrival in the United States and by 
making it clear that the avocados may be shipped by land, sea, or air. 
We are also amending the regulations to allow avocados from multiple 
packinghouses that participate in the avocado export program to be 
combined into one consignment. We are taking these actions in response 
to requests from the Government of Mexico and inquiries from a U.S. 
maritime port. These actions will allow additional options for shipping 
Hass avocados from Mexico to the United States and allow Mexican 
exporters to ship full container or truck loads from multiple 
packinghouses while continuing to provide an appropriate level of 
protection against the introduction of plant pests.

DATES: Effective Date: November 29, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David B. Lamb, Import Specialist, 
Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road 
Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-0627.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-50) prohibit or restrict the importation of 
fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the 
world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests, 
including fruit flies, that are new to or not widely distributed within 
the United States.
    Under the regulations in Sec.  319.56-30 (referred to below as the 
regulations), fresh Hass avocado fruit grown in approved orchards in 
approved municipalities in Michoacan, Mexico, may be imported into 
specified areas of the United States after meeting the requirements of 
a systems approach. The systems approach, which is described in the 
regulations, includes surveys for pathway pests in municipalities and 
orchards; municipality, orchard, and packinghouse certification; 
protection of harvested fruit from infestation; shipment in sealed, 
refrigerated trucks or containers; and the cutting and inspection of 
fruit in orchards, in packinghouses, and at ports of entry. The overlap 
of the phytosanitary measures helps ensure the effectiveness of the 
systems approach.
    On May 27, 2010, we published in the Federal Register (75 FR 29680-
29684, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0016) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
regulations by adding the option to ship avocados to the United States 
in bulk shipping bins when safeguarding is maintained from the 
packinghouse to the port of first arrival in the United States and by 
making it clear that the avocados may be shipped by land, sea, or air. 
We also proposed to allow avocados from multiple packinghouses that 
participate in the avocado export program to be combined into one 
consignment.
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    \1\ To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go 
to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0016.
_____________________________________-

    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
July 26, 2010. We received three comments by that date, from the 
operators of a U.S. maritime port, an association of Mexican Hass 
avocado producers, packers, and exporters, and a State department of 
agriculture. Two commenters were in favor of adopting the rule as 
proposed.
    The remaining commenter expressed concern that allowing 
consignments of avocados from multiple packinghouses might result in 
difficulties with traceback in the event of a pest introduction.
    The regulations require that the boxes or crates must be clearly 
marked with the identity of the grower, packinghouse, and exporter. We 
are adding the option to use bulk shipping bins as well as boxes or 
crates, but we are also continuing to require the identifying markings 
for boxes, crates, or bins in any consignment of avocados, whether from 
a single packinghouse or from multiple packinghouses. Furthermore, 
avocados from multiple packinghouses will not be commingled in the same 
box, crate, or bulk shipping bin. Instead, the regulations will allow a 
refrigerated truck or refrigerated shipping container to be loaded with 
full boxes, crates, or bulk shipping bins from more than one approved 
packinghouse when phytosanitary safeguarding is maintained. We believe 
that the existing marking provisions will continue to provide 
sufficient information to conduct a traceback investigation in the 
event of a pest introduction. We are making no changes in response to 
this comment.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule, we are 
adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed 
by the Office of Management and Budget.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 604, we have performed a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding 
the economic effects of this rule on small entities. Copies of the full 
analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 
in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Currently, Hass avocado exports from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, are 
allowed to enter all 50 States throughout the year. Since

[[Page 66644]]

there is no limit to the volume that may be shipped, market forces of 
supply and demand and the extent to which any maritime shipments are in 
addition to--rather than in place of--shipments by truck will determine 
the size of any market effects of the rule. These actions will allow 
additional options for shipping Hass avocados from Mexico to the United 
States and allow Mexican exporters to ship full container or truck 
loads from multiple packinghouses while continuing to provide an 
appropriate level of protection against the introduction of plant 
pests.
    U.S. producers of avocado are predominantly small entities. Other 
small entities that theoretically could be affected by the rule include 
fresh avocado importers, brokers, truck drivers, and maritime shippers. 
The price and supply impacts that this rule may have on U.S. entities 
are not known.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows Hass avocados to be imported into the United 
States from Mexico in bulk consignments and in consignments from 
multiple packinghouses when phytosanitary safeguarding is maintained 
from the packinghouse to the first port of entry in the United States. 
State and local laws and regulations regarding Hass avocados imported 
under this rule will be preempted while the fruit is in foreign 
commerce. Fresh avocados are generally imported for immediate 
distribution and sale to the consuming public, and remain in foreign 
commerce until sold to the ultimate consumer. The question of when 
foreign commerce ceases in other cases must be addressed on a case-by-
case basis. No retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and this 
rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties may 
file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains no new information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

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

0
Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
1. 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.

0
2. Section 319.56-30 is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (c)(3)(v), by removing the words ``shipping boxes'' and 
adding the words ``containers in which they will be shipped'' in their 
place.
0
b. In paragraph (c)(3)(vi), by removing the words ``in boxes'' and 
adding the words ``for shipping'' in their place.
0
c. By revising paragraphs (c)(3)(vii) and (c)(3)(viii) to read as set 
forth below.
0
d. By removing paragraphs (f) and (g) and redesignating paragraphs (h) 
and (i) as paragraphs (f) and (g), respectively.
0
e. In newly redesignated paragraph (g), by adding the words ``, crates, 
or bulk shipping bins'' after the words ``original shipping boxes'' and 
by removing the words ``new boxes'' and adding the words ``new 
packaging'' in their place.


Sec.  319.56-30  Hass avocados from Michoacan, Mexico.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (vii) The avocados must be packed in clean, new boxes or bulk 
shipping bins, or in clean plastic reusable crates. The boxes, bins, or 
crates must be clearly marked with the identity of the grower, 
packinghouse, and exporter, and with the statement ``Not for 
importation or distribution in Puerto Rico or U.S. Territories.'' The 
boxes, bins, or crates must be covered with a lid, insect-proof mesh, 
or other material to protect the avocados from fruit-fly infestation 
prior to leaving the packinghouse. Those safeguards must be intact at 
the time the consignment arrives in the United States.
    (viii) The packed avocados must be placed in a refrigerated truck 
or refrigerated container and remain in that truck or container while 
in transit through Mexico to the port of export for consignments 
shipped by air or sea or the port of first arrival in the United States 
for consignments shipped by land. Prior to leaving the packinghouse, 
the truck or container must be secured by the Mexican NPPO with a seal 
that will be broken when the truck or container is opened. The seal may 
be broken and a new seal applied by the Mexican NPPO if the truck or 
container stops at another approved packinghouse for additional 
avocados meeting the requirements of this section to be placed in the 
truck or container. The seal on the refrigerated truck or refrigerated 
container must be intact at the time the truck or container reaches the 
port of export in Mexico or the port of first arrival in the United 
States.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 25th day of October 2010.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-27426 Filed 10-28-10; 8:45 am]
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