[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 73 (Monday, April 16, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22465-22467]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9066]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0113]
RIN 0579-AD40


Importation of Fresh Pitaya Fruit From Central America Into the 
Continental United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow 
the importation of fresh pitaya fruit from Central America into the 
continental United States. As a condition of entry, the pitaya fruit 
must be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes 
requirements for monitoring and oversight, establishment of pest-free 
places of production, and procedures for packing the pitaya fruit. This 
action will allow for the importation of pitaya fruit from Central 
America into the continental United States while continuing to provide 
protection against the introduction of plant pests.

DATES: Effective Date: May 16, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Lamb, Import Specialist, 
Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road 
Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2103.

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 within the United States.
    On May 24, 2011, we published in the Federal Register (76 FR 30036-
30040, Docket No. APHIS-2010-0113) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
regulations by allowing fresh pitaya from Central America to be 
imported into the continental United States. We proposed that, as a 
condition of entry, the pitaya fruit must be produced in accordance 
with a systems approach that includes requirements for monitoring and 
oversight, establishment of pest-free places of production, and 
procedures for packing the pitaya fruit.
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    \1\ To view the proposed rule and supporting documents, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0113.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
July 25, 2011. We did not receive any comments.
    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 the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 
the 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 footnote 1 for a link to 
Regulations.gov).
    This rule will allow the importation of fresh pitaya fruit into the 
continental United States from the Central American countries of 
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and 
Panama in accordance with a systems approach that includes requirements 
for monitoring and oversight, establishment of pest-free places of 
production, and procedures for packing the pitaya fruit. Entities 
potentially affected by the rule are U.S. pitaya fruit growers, of 
which most, if not all, are small entities.
    Pitaya fruit is produced in Hawaii, California, and Florida, but 
the quantities produced, numbers of U.S. producers, quantities 
imported, and other factors needed to assess likely economic effects of 
this rule are not known. The quantity of pitaya fruit expected to be 
imported from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and 
Panama is also unknown. Nicaragua estimates exporting 1,200 metric tons 
(60 forty-foot containers) of pitaya fruit to the continental U.S. 
annually, and it is thought that the other countries may ship similar 
or lesser amounts.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows fresh pitaya to be imported into the United 
States from Central America. State and local laws and regulations 
regarding pitaya imported under this rule will be preempted while the 
fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits and vegetables 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

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements 
included in this rule have been approved by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0579-0378.

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 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

[[Page 22466]]

recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

    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. A new Sec.  319.56-55 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-55  Fresh pitaya from certain Central American countries.

    Fresh pitaya fruit (Hylocereus spp.) may be imported into the 
United States from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, 
Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama in accordance with the conditions 
described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the 
introduction of the following quarantine pests: Anastrepha ludens, 
Ceratitis capitata, Dysmicoccus neobrevipes, and Planococcus minor.
    (a) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) of the exporting country must provide a workplan to 
APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO will, subject to APHIS 
approval, carry out to meet the requirements of this section. APHIS 
will be directly involved with the NPPO in the monitoring and auditing 
implementation of the systems approach.
    (2) The NPPO of the exporting country must conduct inspections at 
the packinghouses and monitor packinghouse operations. Starting 2 
months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping 
season, the NPPO of the exporting country must visit and inspect the 
places of production monthly to verify compliance with the requirements 
of this section. If the NPPO finds that a packinghouse or place of 
production 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 have conducted an 
investigation and appropriate remedial actions have been implemented.
    (3) The NPPO must review and maintain 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.
    (b) Place of production requirements. (1) The personnel conducting 
the trapping required in paragraph (c) of this section must be hired, 
trained, and supervised by the NPPO of the exporting country. The 
exporting country's NPPO must certify that each place of production has 
effective fruit fly trapping programs, and follows control guidelines, 
when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. APHIS may 
monitor the places of production.
    (2) The places of production producing pitaya for export to the 
United States must be registered with the NPPO of the exporting 
country.
    (3) Trees and other structures, other than the crop itself, must 
not shade the crop during the day. No C. capitata or A. ludens host 
plants may be grown within 100 meters of the edge of the production 
site.
    (4) Pitaya fruit that has fallen on the ground must be removed from 
the place of production at least once every 7 days and may not be 
included in field containers of fruit to be packed for export.
    (5) Harvested pitaya fruit must be placed in field cartons or 
containers that are marked to show the place of production.
    (c) Mitigation measures for C. capitata and A. ludens--(1) Pest-
free places of production. (i) Beginning at least 1 year before harvest 
begins and continuing through the end of the shipping season, trapping 
for A. ludens and C. capitata must be conducted in the places of pitaya 
fruit production with at least 1 trap per hectare of APHIS-approved 
traps, serviced every 7 days.
    (ii) From 2 months prior to harvest through the end of the shipping 
season, when traps are serviced, if either A. ludens or C. capitata are 
trapped at a particular place of production at cumulative levels above 
0.07 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 pitaya fruit to the continental 
United States. If the average A. ludens or C. capitata catch is greater 
than 0.07 flies per trap per day for more than 2 consecutive weeks, the 
place of production is ineligible for export until the rate of capture 
drops to an average of less than 0.07 flies per trap per day.
    (iii) The NPPO must maintain records of fruit fly detections for 
each trap, update the records each time the traps are checked, and make 
the records available to APHIS upon request. The records must be 
maintained for at least 1 year for APHIS review.
    (2) Pest-free area for C. capitata. If the pitaya fruit are 
produced in a place of production located in an area that is designated 
as free of C. capitata in accordance with Sec.  319.56-5, the trapping 
in paragraph (c)(1) of this section is not required for C. capitata.
    (d) Packinghouse requirements. (1) The packinghouses must be 
registered with the NPPO of the exporting country.
    (2) All openings to the outside must be covered by screening with 
openings of not more than 1.6 mm or by some other barrier that prevents 
pests from entering the packinghouses.
    (3) The packinghouses must have double doors at the entrance to the 
facilities and at the interior entrance to the area where the pitaya 
fruit are packed.
    (4) While in use for packing pitaya fruit for export to the United 
States, the packinghouses may only accept pitaya fruit that are from 
registered places of production and that are produced in accordance 
with the requirements of this section.
    (e) Post-harvest procedures. The pitaya fruit must be packed within 
24 hours of harvest in a pest-exclusionary packinghouse. Pitaya fruit 
must be packed in insect-proof cartons or containers that can be sealed 
at the packinghouse, or covered with insect-proof mesh or a plastic 
tarpaulin for transport to the United States. These safeguards must be 
intact upon arrival in the United States.
    (f) Phytosanitary inspection. (1) The NPPO of the exporting country 
must visually inspect a biometric sample of pitaya fruit, jointly 
approved by APHIS and the NPPO of the exporting country, for D. 
neobrevipes and P. minor, and cut open a portion of the fruit to detect 
A. ludens and C. capitata. If the fruit is from a pest-free area for C. 
capitata, then the fruit will only be inspected for A. ludens.
    (2) The fruit are subject to inspection at the port of entry for 
all quarantine pests of concern. Shipping documents identifying the 
place(s) of production in which the fruit was produced and the packing 
shed(s) in which the fruit was processed must accompany each lot of 
fruit presented for inspection at the port of entry to the United 
States. This identification must be maintained until the fruit is 
released for entry into the United States.
    (3) If D. neobrevipes or P. minor is found, the entire consignment 
of fruit will be prohibited from import into the United States unless 
the shipment is treated with an approved treatment monitored by APHIS. 
If inspectors (either from the exporting country's NPPO or at the U.S. 
port of entry) find a single fruit fly larva in a shipment, they will 
reject the entire consignment for shipment to the United States, and 
the place of production for that

[[Page 22467]]

shipment will be suspended from the export program until appropriate 
measures, agreed upon by the NPPO of the exporting country and APHIS, 
have been taken.
    (g) Commercial consignments. The pitaya fruit may be imported in 
commercial consignments only.
    (h) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of pitaya fruit 
must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO 
of the exporting country, containing an additional declaration stating 
that the fruit in the consignment was produced in accordance with 
requirements in 7 CFR 319.56-55.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control 
number 0579-0378)

    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of April 2012.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-9066 Filed 4-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P