[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 73 (Monday, April 16, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22510-22514]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9063]


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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. 77, No. 73 / Monday, April 16, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 22510]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2011-0028]
RIN 0579-AD61


Importation of Fresh Bananas From the Philippines Into the 
Continental United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the 
importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh 
bananas from the Philippines into the continental United States. As a 
condition of entry, the bananas would have to be produced in accordance 
with a systems approach that would include requirements for importation 
of commercial consignments, monitoring of fruit flies to establish low-
prevalence places of production, harvesting only of hard green bananas, 
and inspection for quarantine pests by the national plant protection 
organization of the Philippines. The bananas would also have to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional 
declaration stating that they were grown, packed, and inspected and 
found to be free of quarantine pests in accordance with the proposed 
requirements. This action would allow the importation of bananas from 
the Philippines while continuing to protect against the introduction of 
plant pests into the United States.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 
15, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0028-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2011-0028, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-
0028 or in our reading room, which 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) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith Jones, Regulatory 
Coordination Specialist, PPQ, RPM, RCC, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-2289.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-54, referred to below as the regulations) 
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 that are new to or not 
widely distributed within the United States.
    The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of the 
Philippines has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow bananas from the 
Philippines to be imported into the continental United States. 
Currently, bananas may not be imported from the Philippines. 
Historically, bananas have been imported into the United States only 
from Central and South America and have been moved interstate from 
Hawaii to the continental United States.
    As part of our evaluation of the Philippines' request, we prepared 
a pest risk assessment (PRA), titled ``Importation of Bananas, Musa 
spp., as Fresh, Hard Green Fruit from the Philippines to the 
Continental United States, A Qualitative Pathway-Initiated Risk 
Assessment'' (July 21, 2009). The PRA evaluated the risks associated 
with the importation of green bananas into the United States from the 
Philippines.
    The PRA identified 16 pests of quarantine significance present in 
the Philippines that could be introduced into the United States through 
the importation of green bananas:

Fruit flies:
     Bactrocera musae
     B. occipitalis
     B. philippinensis
Scales:
     Red wax (Ceroplastes rubens)
     Green (Coccus viridis)
Beetle:
 Longhorned (Sybra alternans)
Mealybugs:
     Gray pineapple (Dymicoccus neobrevipes)
     Coffee root (Geococcus coffeae)
     Hibiscus (Maconellicoccus hirsutus)
     Coffee (Planococcus lilacinus)
     Pacific (Planococcus minor)
     Cryptic (Pseudococcus cryptus)
     Mango (Rastrococcus invadens)
     Philippine mango (Rastrococcus spinosus)

Fungi

     Cercospaora hayi Calpouzos
     Guignardia musae Racib.

    The PRA rated the fruit flies as high risk; the beetle, both 
scales, and all the mealybugs as medium risk; and the fungi as low 
risk. Pests with low risk ratings do not typically require specific 
mitigation measures. Based on the information contained in the PRA, 
APHIS has determined that measures beyond standard port-of-entry 
inspection are required to mitigate the risks posed by the quarantine 
pests with high and medium pest risk potential. To recommend specific 
measures to mitigate those risks, we prepared a risk management 
document (RMD). Copies of the PRA and RMD 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 recommendations of the RMD, we are proposing to allow 
the importation of bananas from the Philippines into the continental 
United States only if they are produced in accordance with a systems 
approach. The systems approach we are proposing would require:
     Registration, monitoring, and oversight of places of 
production;

[[Page 22511]]

     Trapping for the Bactrocera spp. fruit flies to establish 
low-prevalence places of production;
     Covering bananas with pesticide bags during the growing 
season;
     Harvesting only of hard green bananas;
     Requirements for culling, safeguarding, and identifying 
the fruit; and
     Inspection by the NPPO of the Philippines for quarantine 
pests.
    Bananas from the Philippines would also be required to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional 
declaration stating that the bananas were grown, packed, and inspected 
in accordance with the proposed requirements.
    We are proposing to add the systems approach to the regulations in 
a new Sec.  319.56-57 governing the importation of bananas from the 
Philippines into the United States. The mitigation measures in the 
proposed systems approach are discussed in greater detail below.

Proposed Systems Approach

General Requirements

    Paragraph (a) of Sec.  319.56-57 would set out general requirements 
for the NPPO of the Philippines and for growers and packers producing 
bananas for export to the United States.
    Paragraph (a)(1) would require the NPPO of the Philippines to 
provide a workplan to APHIS that details activities that the NPPO of 
the Philippines will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry 
out to meet the requirements of proposed Sec.  319.56-57. The 
implementation of a systems approach typically requires a bilateral 
workplan to be developed. A bilateral workplan is an agreement between 
APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine program, officials of the NPPO 
of a foreign government, and, when necessary, foreign commercial 
entities that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will 
comply with our regulations governing the import or export of a 
specific commodity. Bilateral workplans apply only to the signatory 
parties and establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-to-
day operations of specific export programs. Bilateral workplans also 
establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt within the 
exporting country and make clear who is responsible for dealing with 
those issues.
    Paragraph (a)(2) would require bananas to be grown at places of 
production that are registered with the NPPO of the Philippines and 
that meet the proposed requirements for places of production that are 
discussed later in this document. We would also require that each 
registered place of production renew its registration annually.
    Paragraph (a)(3) would require bananas to be packed for export to 
the United States in packinghouses that meet the packinghouse 
requirements that are described later in this document.
    Paragraph (a)(4) would require bananas from the Philippines to be 
imported in commercial consignment only. Commercial consignments, as 
defined in Sec.  319.56-2, are consignments that an inspector 
identifies as having been imported for sale and distribution. Such 
identification is based on a variety of indicators, including, but not 
limited to: Quantity of produce, type of packaging, identification of 
grower or packinghouse on the packaging, and documents consigning the 
fruits or vegetables to a wholesaler or retailer. Produce grown 
commercially is less likely to be infested with plant pests than 
noncommercial consignments. Noncommercial consignments are more prone 
to infestations because the commodity is often ripe to overripe and is 
often grown with little or no pest control.

Monitoring and Oversight

    The systems approach we are proposing includes monitoring and 
oversight requirements in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  319.56-57 to 
ensure that the required phytosanitary measures are properly 
implemented throughout the process of growing and packing of bananas 
for export to the United States.
    Paragraph (b)(1) would require the NPPO of the Philippines to visit 
and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 
3 months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping 
season, to verify that the growers are complying with the requirements 
and follow pest control guidelines, when necessary, to reduce 
quarantine pest populations. If fruit fly trapping is conducted, the 
NPPO of the Philippines would also have to verify that the growers are 
complying with the fruit fly trapping requirements and would have to 
certify that each place of production has effective fruit fly trapping 
programs. Any personnel conducting trapping would have to be trained 
and supervised by the NPPO of the Philippines. APHIS would monitor the 
places of production by conducting random and scheduled inspections.
    Under paragraph (b)(2), if the NPPO of the Philippines finds that a 
place of production or a packinghouse is not complying with the 
proposed regulations, no fruit from the place of production or 
packinghouse would be eligible for export to the United States until 
APHIS and the NPPO of the Philippines conduct an investigation and 
appropriate remedial actions have been implemented.
    Paragraph (b)(3) would require the NPPO of the Philippines to 
retain all forms and documents related to export program activities in 
groves and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide 
them to APHIS for review. Such forms and documents would include (but 
would not necessarily be limited to) fruit fly trapping and inspection 
records.

Fruit Fly Trapping To Establish Places of Production With Low Pest 
Prevalence

    Paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  319.56-57 would provide for the use 
of trapping to demonstrate that registered places of production have a 
low prevalence of the Bactrocera spp. fruit flies. Although the PRA has 
determined that the three Bactrocera spp. are potential pests of 
bananas from the Philippines, bananas are known to be poor hosts to 
most species of fruit flies. However, B. musae is recorded as attacking 
green bananas. Trapping to demonstrate an area of low pest prevalence 
would therefore be an appropriate mitigation for fruit flies.
    Beginning at least 3 months before harvest begins and continuing 
through the end of the harvest, trapping would have to be conducted in 
registered places of production with at least 1 trap per 0.2 square 
kilometers to demonstrate that the places of production have a low 
prevalence of the Bactrocera spp. fruit flies. APHIS-approved traps 
baited with APHIS-approved plugs would have to be used and serviced at 
least once every 2 weeks.
    During the trapping, when traps are serviced, if the Bactrocera 
spp. fruit flies are trapped at a registered place of production at 
cumulative levels above 2 flies per trap per day, pesticide bait 
treatments would have to be applied in the affected place of production 
in order for the place of production to remain eligible to export 
bananas to the United States. The NPPO of the Philippines would have to 
keep records of fruit fly detections for each trap, update the records 
each time the traps are checked, and make the records available to 
APHIS inspectors upon request.
    Although the Bactrocera spp. fruit flies have been identified as 
pests of banana in the Philippines, we do not want to impose trapping 
requirements if they are not justified by the presence of fruit fly 
larvae in Philippine bananas; as noted earlier, bananas are poor hosts 
of fruit flies in general, especially when harvested green. Under the 
heading

[[Page 22512]]

``NPPO of the Philippines Inspection'' later in this document, we 
describe requirements for cutting bananas to inspect for internal 
feeders such as fruit fly larvae. We are proposing to provide that the 
fruit fly trapping requirements described in proposed paragraph (c) 
would no longer apply if, after 2 years from the effective date of a 
final rule following this proposed rule, such inspections do not find 
any larvae of the Bactrocera spp. fruit flies. In general, we consider 
2 years' worth of data on how fruit flies affect a commodity to be 
sufficient to make determinations on how to regulate for these pests.
    The date on which trapping would no longer be required would be 
included in the regulations. If no fruit fly larvae are found, we would 
publish a notice in the Federal Register to confirm that fruit fly 
trapping would no longer be required. If fruit fly larvae are found, we 
would amend the regulations to address the demonstrated risk.

Bagging Requirements

    Paragraph (d) would provide that plastic bags impregnated with 
pesticides must cover the bananas during the growing period. If a 
pesticide bag falls off or is torn, that fruit would no longer be 
eligible for export to the United States. This growing requirement 
would prevent quarantine pests from attacking bananas.

Harvesting Requirements

    Paragraph (e) of Sec.  319.56-57 sets out requirements for 
harvesting bananas. Under paragraph (e)(1), bananas would have to be 
harvested at a hard green stage. Harvesting bananas at a hard green 
stage (i.e., bananas with no yellow or green color break) is a standard 
industry practice for banana production in Central and South America, 
Hawaii, and most of the world because ripe bananas are more likely to 
be infested by fruit flies. Inspectors at the port of entry would 
determine that:
     Bananas shipped by air are still green upon arrival in the 
United States;
     Bananas shipped by sea are either green upon arrival in 
the United States or yellow but firm.
    Under paragraph (e)(2), harvested bananas would have to be placed 
in field cartons or containers that are marked with the official 
registration number of the place of production. The fruit would have to 
be safeguarded from exposure to fruit flies from harvest to export, 
including being packaged so as to prevent access by fruit flies and 
other injurious insect pests. These requirements would ensure that 
APHIS and the NPPO of the Philippines could identify the place of 
production where the bananas were produced if inspectors find 
quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or at the port of 
entry. Places of production with quarantine pests would be removed from 
the program.

Post-Harvesting Processing

    Paragraph (f) of proposed Sec.  319.56-57 would provide that all 
damaged fruit would have to be culled at the packinghouse. Fruit with 
broken or bruised skin is more susceptible to infestation by pests than 
undamaged fruit. In addition, the fruit would have to be washed with a 
high pressure water spray and with soap and water. This requirement 
would remove mealy bugs and other quarantine pests from the fruit prior 
to export.

Packinghouse Requirements

    We are proposing several requirements for packinghouse activities, 
which would be contained in paragraph (g) of proposed Sec.  319.56-57. 
Paragraph (g)(1) would provide that the packinghouse would have to have 
double doors at the entrance to the facility and at the interior 
entrance to the area where the bananas are packed. This proposed 
requirement is designed to exclude fruit flies from the packinghouse.
    Paragraph (g)(2) would require that bananas for export be packed 
into new, clean boxes, crates, or other packing material. We would also 
require bananas intended for export to the United States to be labeled 
with the name and location of the packinghouse marked on the boxes, and 
segregated from bananas intended for other markets. These requirements 
would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of the Philippines could identify 
the packinghouse at which the fruit was packed if inspectors find 
quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or at the port of 
entry.
    Paragraph (g)(3) would require that shipping documents accompanying 
consignments of bananas from the Philippines that are exported to the 
United States include the official registration number of the place of 
production at which the bananas were grown and must identify the 
packinghouse in which the fruit was processed and packed. This 
identification must be maintained until the fruit is released for entry 
into the United States.
    Paragraph (g)(4) would require that the packinghouse operations for 
export of bananas be monitored by the NPPO of the Philippines. This 
requirement would ensure that the packinghouses remain compliant with 
the regulations.

NPPO of the Philippines Inspection

    To ensure that the mitigations required in the systems approach are 
effective at producing fruit free of the targeted quarantine pests, we 
would require the NPPO of the Philippines to inspect the fruit after 
harvest. Paragraph (h)(1) of proposed Sec.  319.56-57 would require 
inspectors from the NPPO of the Philippines to certify that bananas 
were harvested at the hard green stage.
    Under paragraph (h)(2), the NPPO of the Philippines would be 
required to inspect a biometric sample of the fruit from each place of 
production at a rate to be determined by APHIS. The inspectors would 
have to visually inspect fruit from each place of production for all 
the quarantine pests. The inspectors would also have to cut fruit to 
inspect for quarantine pests that are internal feeders, which include 
larvae of the three Bactrocera fruit fly species (B. musae, B. 
occipitalis, B. philippinensis) and the beetle Sybra alternans. We have 
determined that inspection can serve as an effective mitigation for the 
risk associated with these pests in bananas exported from the 
Philippines.
    If any Bactrocera spp. fruit flies are detected in this inspection, 
the place of production where the infested bananas were grown would 
immediately be suspended from the export program until an investigation 
has been conducted by APHIS and the NPPO of the Philippines and 
appropriate mitigations have been implemented. If other quarantine 
pests are detected in this inspection, the consignment will be rejected 
from the export program.

Phytosanitary Certificate

    To certify that the bananas from the Philippines have been grown 
and packed in accordance with the requirements of proposed Sec.  
319.56-57, proposed paragraph (i) would require each consignment of 
bananas imported from the Philippines into the United States to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of the 
Philippines with an additional declaration stating that the bananas in 
the consignment were grown, packed, and inspected in accordance with 
the systems approach in proposed Sec.  319.56-57.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed 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 the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 
the

[[Page 22513]]

potential economic effects of this action on small entities. The 
analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available 
by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for 
instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).
    The United States is a minor producer but a major importer of 
bananas. Banana imports from the Philippines would compete against 
existing U.S. banana imports from other countries. The volume of 
bananas expected to be imported from the Philippines is not more than 
100 containers per year at most, or approximately 1,814 metric tons 
annually. This quantity is equivalent to about 0.05 percent of U.S. 
imports. Compared to the volume of current imports, the quantity of 
bananas expected to be imported from the Philippines is negligible. 
Moreover, bananas from the Philippines will be allowed only into the 
continental United States, not into Hawaii. For these reasons, any 
impact of the rule for U.S. banana producers in Hawaii would be small.
    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 12988

    This proposed rule would allow bananas to be imported into the 
United States from the Philippines. If this proposed rule is adopted, 
State and local laws and regulations regarding bananas imported under 
this rule would be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. 
Fresh fruits are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale 
to the consuming public and would 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. If this 
proposed rule is adopted, 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

    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-
2011-0028. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2011-0028, 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.
    Allowing the importation of fresh bananas from the Philippines into 
the continental United States will require the completion of the 
following information: A bilateral workplan, registration of production 
sites, monitoring and oversight of production sites, maintenance of 
records, forms, and documents, marking of production sites with 
registration numbers, and a phytosanitary certificate.
    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 0.76892 hours per response.
    Respondents: Foreign government, importers and growers of bananas 
from the Philippines.
    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 46.
    Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 5,456.
    Estimated Annual Number of Responses: 251.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 193 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) 
851-2908.

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' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

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.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

    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.

    2. A new Sec.  319.56-57 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-57  Bananas from the Philippines.

    Bananas (Musa spp., which include M. acuminate cultivars and M. 
acuminate x M. balbisiana hybrids) may be imported into the continental 
United States from the Philippines only under the conditions described 
in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the 
introduction of the following quarantine pests: Bactrocera musae 
(Tryon), Bactrocera occipitalis (Bezzi), and Bactrocera philippinensis 
(Drew and Hancock) fruit flies; Ceroplastes rubens (Maskell), the red 
wax scale; Coccus viridis (Green), the green scale; Sybra alternans 
(Wiedemann), a longhorned beetle; Dymicoccus neobrevipes (Beardsley), 
the gray pineapple mealybug; Geococcus coffeae (Green), the coffee root 
mealybug; Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), the hibiscus mealybug; 
Planococcus lilacinus (Cockerell), the coffee mealybug; Planococcus 
minor

[[Page 22514]]

(Maskell), the pacific mealybug; Pseudococcus cryptus (Hempel), the 
cryptic mealybug; Rastrococcus invadens (Williams), the mango mealybug; 
and Rastrococcus spinosus (Robinson), the Philippine mango mealybug.
    (a) General requirements. (1) The national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) of the Philippines must provide an operational 
workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of the 
Philippines will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry out 
to meet the requirements of this section.
    (2) Bananas must be grown at places of production that are 
registered with the NPPO of the Philippines and that meet the 
requirements of this section. Registration must be renewed annually.
    (3) Bananas must be packed for export to the United States in 
packinghouses that meet the requirements of this section.
    (4) Bananas from the Philippines may be imported in commercial 
consignments only.
    (b) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of the Philippines must 
visit and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at 
least 3 months before harvest begins and continuing through the end of 
the shipping season, to verify that the growers are complying with the 
requirements of this section and follow pest control guidelines, when 
necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. When trapping is 
required under paragraph (c) of this section, the NPPO of the 
Philippines must also verify that the growers are complying with the 
requirements in that paragraph and must certify that each place of 
production has an effective fruit fly trapping program. Any personnel 
conducting trapping under paragraph (c) of this section must be trained 
and supervised by the NPPO of the Philippines. APHIS may monitor the 
places of production as necessary to ensure compliance.
    (2) If the NPPO of the Philippines finds that a place of production 
or packinghouse is not complying with the requirements of this section, 
no fruit from the place of production or packinghouse will be eligible 
for export to the United States until APHIS and the NPPO of the 
Philippines conduct an investigation and appropriate remedial actions 
have been implemented.
    (3) The NPPO of the Philippines must retain all forms and documents 
related to export program activities in places of production and 
packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to 
APHIS for review.
    (c) Fruit fly trapping to establish places of production with low 
pest prevalence. Beginning at least 3 months before harvest begins and 
continuing through the end of the harvest, trapping must be conducted 
in registered places of production with at least 1 trap per 0.2 square 
kilometers to demonstrate that the places of production have a low 
prevalence of Bactrocera spp. fruit flies. APHIS-approved traps baited 
with APHIS-approved plugs must be used and serviced at least once every 
2 weeks. During the trapping, when traps are serviced, if fruit flies 
are trapped at a particular place of production at cumulative levels 
above 2 flies per trap per day, pesticide bait treatments must be 
applied in the affected place of production in order for the place of 
production to remain eligible to export bananas to the United States. 
The NPPO of the Philippines must keep records of fruit fly detections 
for each trap, update the records each time the traps are checked, and 
make the records available to APHIS inspectors upon request. If no 
Bactrocera spp. larvae have been found in the inspections required in 
paragraph (h) of this section by [Insert date 2 years after the 
effective date of final rule], the activities described in this 
paragraph are no longer required.
    (d) Bagging requirements. Plastic bags impregnated with pesticides 
must cover the bananas. During the growing period, if a pesticide bag 
falls off or is torn, the fruit in that bag may not be exported to the 
United States.
    (e) Harvesting requirements. (1) Bananas must be harvested at a 
hard green stage and inspected at the port of entry to determine that:
    (i) Bananas shipped by air are still green upon arrival in the 
United States;
    (ii) Bananas shipped by sea are either green upon arrival in the 
United States or yellow but firm.
    (2) Harvested bananas must be placed in field cartons or containers 
that are marked to show the official registration number of the 
production site. The identification of the place of production must be 
maintained from the time when the fruit leaves the place of production 
until the fruit is released for entry into the United States.
    (f) Post-harvest processing. After harvest, all damaged or diseased 
fruit must be culled at the packinghouse. Fruit must be washed with a 
high pressure water spray, and washed with soap and water.
    (g) Packinghouse requirements. (1) Packinghouses must prevent the 
entry of pests with a double-door entry system designed to exclude 
quarantine pests of concern.
    (2) Bananas for export must be packed into new, clean boxes, crates 
or other packing materials. Bananas intended for export to the United 
States must be labeled with the name and location for the packinghouse, 
and segregated from bananas intended for other markets.
    (3) The shipping documents accompanying the consignment of bananas 
from the Philippines that are exported to the United States must 
include the official registration number of the place of production at 
which the bananas were grown and must identify the packinghouse in 
which the fruit was processed and packed. This identification must be 
maintained until the fruit is release for entry into the United States.
    (4) The packinghouse operations for export of bananas must be 
monitored by the NPPO of the Philippines.
    (h) NPPO of the Philippines inspection. (1) Following any post-
harvest processing, inspectors from the NPPO of the Philippines must 
certify that bananas were harvested at the hard green stage.
    (2) Inspectors from the NPPO of the Philippines must inspect a 
biometric sample of the fruit from each place of production at a rate 
to be determined by APHIS. The inspectors must visually inspect for 
quarantine pests listed in the introductory text of this section and 
must cut fruit to inspect for quarantine pests that are internal 
feeders. If Bactrocera spp. fruit flies are found upon inspection, the 
export program will be suspended until an investigation has been 
conducted by APHIS and the NPPO of the Philippines and appropriate 
mitigations have been implemented. If other quarantine pests are 
detected in this inspection, the consignment will be destroyed and the 
registered place of production will be rejected from the export 
program.
    (i) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of fruit must be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of the 
Philippines that contains an additional declaration stating that the 
bananas in the consignment were grown, packed, and inspected in 
accordance with the systems approach in 7 CFR 319.56-55.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of April 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-9063 Filed 4-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P