[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 97 (Friday, May 18, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29588-29589]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12029]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 97 / Friday, May 18, 2012 / Notices

[[Page 29588]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0074]


Notice of Decision To Issue Permits for the Importation of Fresh 
Celery, Arugula, and Spinach From Colombia into the Continental United 
States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our decision to begin issuing 
permits for the importation into the continental United States of fresh 
celery, arugula, and spinach from Colombia. Based on the findings of 
three pest risk analyses, which we made available to the public for 
review and comment through a previous notice, we believe that the 
application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be 
sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant 
pests or noxious weeds via the importation of fresh celery, arugula, 
and spinach from Colombia.

DATES: Effective Date: May 18, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Dorothy C. Wayson, Senior 
Regulatory Coordination Specialist, PPQ-PHP-RPM, 4700 River Road Unit 
133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2036.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under the regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-56, referred to below as the regulations), the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture prohibits or restricts the importation of 
fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the 
world to prevent plant pests from being introduced into and spread 
within the United States.
    Section 319.56-4 of the regulations contains a performance-based 
process for approving the importation of commodities that, based on the 
findings of a pest risk analysis (PRA), can be safely imported subject 
to one or more of the designated phytosanitary measures listed in 
paragraph (b) of that section. Under that process, APHIS publishes a 
notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the PRA 
that evaluates the risks associated with the importation of a 
particular fruit or vegetable. Following the close of the 60-day 
comment period, APHIS may begin issuing permits for importation of the 
fruit or vegetable subject to the identified designated measures if: 
(1) No comments were received on the PRA; (2) the comments on the PRA 
revealed that no changes to the PRA were necessary; or (3) changes to 
the PRA were made in response to public comments, but the changes did 
not affect the overall conclusions of the analysis and the 
Administrator's determination of risk.
    In accordance with that process, we published a notice \1\ in the 
Federal Register on August 25, 2010 (75 FR 52302-52303, Docket No. 
APHIS-2010-0074), in which we announced the availability, for review 
and comment, of three PRAs that evaluate the risks associated with the 
importation into the continental United States of fresh celery, 
arugula, and spinach from Colombia. We solicited comments on the notice 
for 60 days ending on October 25, 2010. We received one comment by that 
date, from a State department of agriculture.
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    \1\ To view the notice, the PRAs, and the comment we received, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0074.
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    In the two PRAs that analyzed the risks of importing fresh celery 
and spinach from Colombia into the United States, APHIS determined that 
one of the plant pests identified, the pea leaf miner (Liriomyza 
huidobrensis), has a high risk potential of following the pathway of 
fresh celery and spinach from Colombia. However, as noted in the PRAs, 
APHIS concludes that visual inspection for L. huidobrensis will 
sufficiently mitigate the risk of introducing this pest into the United 
States. The one comment we received referred to this potential risk and 
stated that visual inspection of these articles is not by itself 
adequate in mitigating the risk of introduction of this pest. The 
commenter noted that L. huidobrensis spends most of its lifecycle in 
the larval form mining leaves of the host plant material and would not 
be easily detectable along the midribs of leaves. The commenter 
recommends that a systems approach be undertaken that includes limiting 
growing of these articles to pest-free areas, fumigation, visual 
inspection at the point of origin and upon arrival in the United 
States, and an accompanying phytosanitary certificate stating that the 
plant material is free of L. huidobrensis.
    Although we acknowledge the risk that these plant pests could 
potentially evade visual detection and be introduced into the United 
States, APHIS has permitted the entry of fresh celery, arugula, and 
spinach from several countries using similar mitigations for L. 
huidobrensis without significant pest issues. Spinach, for example, has 
been permitted entry into the United States from Belize, Costa Rica, El 
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama with only visual 
inspection, and L. huidobrensis reportedly occurs in these countries. 
In response to the commenter's recommendations, we note that celery, 
arugula, and spinach from neighboring countries are already subject to 
inspection upon arrival in the United States, and that we will require 
the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Colombia to issue 
phytosanitary certificates with an additional declaration attesting 
that shipments of celery and spinach are free of L. huidobrensis and 
other named plant pests.
    In the notice \2\ we published announcing the availability of PRAs 
for the importation of fresh celery, arugula, and spinach from 
Colombia, Coccus viridis was included as being one of the quarantine 
pests of celery subject to mitigation. Subsequent to publication of 
that notice, we established that Coccus viridis no longer meets our 
definition of a quarantine pest and added it to our list \3\ of pests 
that we no longer regulate. Therefore, we will not be including

[[Page 29589]]

Coccus viridis among the pests listed in the additional declaration on 
the phytosanitary certificate.
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    \2\ See footnote 1 to access the notice and PRAs on the Web.
    \3\ This list can be viewed at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/frsmp/non-reg-pests.shtml.
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    For these reasons, together with Colombia's use of integrated pest 
management practices in the production of fresh celery, arugula, and 
spinach, APHIS has concluded that imports of celery, arugula, and 
spinach from Colombia are unlikely to contain L. huidobrensis or other 
plant pests of concern. Accordingly, we have determined that no changes 
to the PRAs are necessary based on the comment.
    Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in Sec.  319.56-
4(c)(2)(ii), we are announcing our decision to begin issuing permits 
for the importation into the continental United States of fresh celery, 
arugula, and spinach from Colombia subject to the following 
phytosanitary measures:
     Fresh celery, arugula, and spinach from Colombia must be 
imported as commercial shipments only.
     Each consignment of fresh celery, arugula, and spinach 
must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO 
of Colombia. The phytosanitary certificate for celery and spinach must 
include an additional declaration stating that each consignment has 
been inspected and is free of pests. The additional declaration for 
celery must state ``This shipment has been inspected and is free from 
Copitarsia decolora, Planococcus lilacinus, and Liriomyza 
huidobrensis.'' The additional declaration for spinach must state 
``This shipment has been inspected and is free from Copitarsia 
incommoda, Diabrotica speciosa, and Liriomyza huidobrensis.''
     Each shipment of celery, arugula, and spinach is subject 
to inspection upon arrival at the port of entry into the continental 
United States.
    These conditions will be listed in the Fruits and Vegetables Import 
Requirements database (available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/favir). 
In addition to those specific measures, fresh celery, arugula, and 
spinach from Colombia will be subject to the general requirements 
listed in Sec.  319.56-3 that are applicable to the importation of all 
fruits and vegetables.

    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.

    Dated: Done in Washington, DC, this 14th day of May 2012.
Gregory L. Parham,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12029 Filed 5-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P