[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 20 (Wednesday, January 30, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6222-6227]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02017]


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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. 78, No. 20 / Wednesday, January 30, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 6222]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0002]
RIN 0579-AD63


Importation of Avocados From Continental Spain

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables 
regulations to allow the importation of avocados from continental Spain 
(excluding the Balaeric Islands and Canary Islands) into the United 
States. As a condition of entry, avocados from Spain would have to be 
produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include 
requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration 
and monitoring of places of production and packinghouses; grove 
sanitation; and inspection for quarantine pests by the national plant 
protection organization of Spain. Consignments of avocados other than 
the Hass variety would also have to be treated for the Mediterranean 
fruit fly either prior to moving to the United States or upon arrival 
prior to release. Consignments would also be required to be accompanied 
by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating 
that the avocados were grown and inspected and found to be free of 
pests in accordance with the proposed requirements. This action would 
allow for the importation of avocados from Spain into the United States 
while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of 
quarantine pests.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before April 
1, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0002-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2012-0002, 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-2012-
0002 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, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-
2289.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-57, 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 Spain has 
requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 
amend the regulations to allow avocados from continental Spain to be 
imported into the United States, including Hawaii and U.S. territories.
    As part of our evaluation of Spain's request, we prepared a pest 
risk assessment (PRA), titled ``Importation of Fresh Avocado, Persea 
americana Miller, from Continental Spain into the United States, 
Including Hawaii and U.S. Territories'' (November 2011). The PRA 
evaluated the risks associated with the importation of avocados into 
the United States from Spain. Copies of the PRA 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).
    The PRA identifies one pest of quarantine significance present in 
continental Spain that could be introduced into the United States 
through the importation of avocados. That pest is Ceratitis capitata 
(Wiedemann), the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly).
    APHIS has determined that measures beyond standard port-of-entry 
inspection are required to mitigate the risks posed by this plant pest. 
To recommend specific measures to mitigate those risks, we prepared a 
risk management document (RMD). Copies of the 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 avocados from continental Spain into the United 
States only if they are produced in accordance with a systems approach. 
We would allow importation of untreated Hass avocados based on our 
finding \1\ that Hass avocados on the tree are not a host to Medfly. We 
would allow importation of other varieties of avocado if they are 
treated for Medfly. The systems approach we are proposing would 
require:
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    \1\ ``Host status of `Hass' avocados to Mediterranean fruit fly, 
Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) and the South American fruit fly, 
Anastrepha fraterculus (Wiedemann).'' Commodity Import Evaluation 
Document. December 2010. United States Department of Agriculture, 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and 
Quarantine, Regulations, Permits and Manuals, Regulatory 
Coordination and Compliance, Riverdale, MD. 8pp. Available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0127-0002.
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     Registration, monitoring, and oversight of places of 
production;
     Grove sanitation;
     Harvesting requirements for safeguarding and 
identification of the fruit;
     Packinghouse requirements for safeguarding and 
identification of the fruit;
     Inspection by the NPPO of Spain for Medfly; and

[[Page 6223]]

     Cold treatment for avocado varieties other than Hass.
    Additionally, all avocados from Spain would also be required to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Spain. 
The phytosanitary certificate accompanying Hass variety avocados would 
have to contain an additional declaration stating that the avocados 
were grown in an approved place of production and the consignment has 
been inspected and found free of C. capitata. The phytosanitary 
certificate accompanying non-Hass avocados would have to contain an 
additional declaration stating that the avocados were grown in an 
approved place of production and the consignment has been inspected and 
found free of C. capitata, and, if treated prior to export, that the 
consignment has been treated for C. capitata in accordance with 7 CFR 
part 305.
    We are proposing to add the systems approach to the regulations in 
a new Sec.  319.56-58 governing the importation of avocados from 
continental Spain 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.  319.56-58 would set out general requirements 
for the NPPO of Spain and for growers and packers producing avocados 
for export to the United States.
    Paragraph (a)(1) would require the NPPO of Spain to provide a 
workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of Spain 
will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the 
requirements of proposed Sec.  319.56-58. As described in a notice we 
published on May 10, 2006, in the Federal Register (71 FR 27221-27224, 
Docket No. APHIS-2005-0085), 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 import/export programs. Bilateral workplans 
also establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the 
exporting country and make clear who is responsible for dealing with 
those issues. The implementation of a systems approach typically 
requires a bilateral workplan to be developed.
    Paragraph (a)(1) would also state that the NPPO of Spain must 
establish a trust fund in accordance with Sec.  319.56-6. Section 
319.56-6 of the regulations sets forth provisions for establishing 
trust fund agreements to cover costs incurred by APHIS when APHIS 
personnel must be physically present in an exporting country or region 
to facilitate exports. The systems approach may require APHIS personnel 
to monitor treatments if they are conducted in Spain.
    Paragraph (a)(2) would require the avocados to be grown at places 
of production in continental Spain that are registered with the NPPO of 
Spain and that meet the requirements for grove sanitation that are 
discussed later in this document. Places of production would be limited 
to continental Spain due to additional quarantine pests that may occur 
in the Canary Islands or Balaeric Islands.
    Paragraph (a)(3) would require the avocados to be packed for export 
to the United States in packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO 
of Spain and that meet the packinghouse requirements for fruit origin, 
pest exclusion, cleaning, safeguarding, and identification that are 
described later in this document.
    Paragraph (a)(4) would state that avocados from continental Spain 
may be imported in commercial consignments only. 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. 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.
    Commercially produced avocados are cleaned as part of the packing 
process. This practice would help to mitigate the risk associated with 
external pests that would be dislodged by cleaning. In addition, the 
industry practice of culling damaged fruit would help to ensure that 
avocados exported from Spain are free of quarantine pests in general.
    Paragraph (a)(5) would require that avocados other than Hass 
variety from continental Spain must be treated for C. capitata in 
accordance with 7 CFR part 305. This treatment could occur prior to 
export to the United States, or upon arrival \2\ prior to release. This 
requirement would mitigate the greater vulnerability of non-Hass 
avocados to attack by C. capitata. The regulations in part 305 set out 
standards and schedules for treatments \3\ required in 7 CFR parts 301, 
318, and 319 to prevent the introduction or dissemination of plant 
pests or noxious weeds into or through the United States through the 
importation or movement of fruits, vegetables, and other articles. 
Therefore, we are proposing to refer to 7 CFR part 305 for an approved 
treatment for C. capitata for avocados from continental Spain.
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    \2\ Cold treatment upon arrival is only available at certain 
ports in accordance with 7 CFR 305.6.
    \3\ Within part 305, Sec.  305.2 provides that approved 
treatment schedules are set out in the PPQ Treatment Manual, found 
online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf. The manual specifies which treatment 
schedules are effective in neutralizing C. capitata on avocados.
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Monitoring and Oversight

    The systems approach we are proposing includes monitoring and 
oversight requirements in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  319.56-58 to 
ensure that the required phytosanitary measures are properly 
implemented throughout the process of growing and packing of avocados 
for export to the United States.
    Paragraph (b)(1) would require the NPPO of Spain to visit and 
inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 2 
months before harvest and continuing until the end of harvest, to 
verify that the growers are complying with the requirements for grove 
sanitation that are discussed later in this document and follow pest 
control guidelines, when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest 
populations.
    Under paragraph (b)(2), in addition to conducting fruit inspections 
at the packinghouses, the NPPO of Spain would be required to monitor 
packinghouse operations to verify that the packinghouses are complying 
with the packinghouse requirements for fruit origin, pest exclusion, 
cleaning, safeguarding, and identification that are described later in 
this document.
    Under paragraph (b)(3), if the NPPO of Spain 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 Spain conduct an investigation and appropriate remedial actions 
have been implemented.

[[Page 6224]]

    Paragraph (b)(4) would require the NPPO of Spain 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.

Grove Sanitation

    Under paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  319.56-58, avocado fruit that 
has fallen from the trees would have to be removed from each place of 
production at least once every 7 days, starting 2 months before harvest 
and continuing to the end of harvest. This procedure would reduce the 
amount of material in the groves that could serve as potential host 
material for C. capitata.
    Avocado fruit of any variety that has fallen from avocado trees to 
the ground may be damaged and thus more susceptible to infestation by 
C. capitata, and even the normally resistant Hass variety may become 
infested under these circumstances. Therefore, proposed paragraph (c) 
would not allow fallen avocado fruit to be included in field containers 
of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for export.

Harvesting Requirements

    Paragraph (d) of proposed Sec.  319.56-58 sets out requirements for 
harvesting. Harvested avocados would have to be placed in field cartons 
or containers that are marked with the official registration number of 
the place of production. The place of production where the avocados 
were grown would have to remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the 
grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. These 
requirements would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Spain could 
identify the place of production where the avocados were produced if 
inspectors find Medflies in the fruit either before export or at the 
port of entry.
    We would require the fruit to be moved to a registered packinghouse 
within 3 hours of harvest or to be protected from fruit fly infestation 
until moved. The fruit would have to be safeguarded by an insect-proof 
screen or plastic tarpaulin while in transit to the packinghouse and 
while awaiting packing. These requirements would prevent the fruit from 
being infested by fruit flies between harvest and packing.

Packinghouse Requirements

    We are proposing several requirements for fruit origin and 
packinghouse activities, which would be contained in paragraph (e) of 
proposed Sec.  319.56-58.
    Paragraph (e)(1) would require registered packinghouses to accept 
only avocados that are from registered places of production and that 
are produced in accordance with the requirements of the systems 
approach during the time they are in use for packing avocados for 
export to the United States.
    Paragraph (e)(2) would require avocados to be packed within 24 
hours of harvest in an insect-exclusionary packinghouse. All openings 
to the outside of the packinghouse would have to be covered by 
screening with openings of not more than 1.6 mm or by some other 
barrier that prevents pests from entering. Screening with openings of 
not more than 1.6 mm excludes fruit flies. The packinghouse would have 
to have double doors at the entrance to the facility and at the 
interior entrance to the area where the avocados are packed. These 
proposed requirements are designed to exclude fruit flies from the 
packinghouse.
    Paragraph (e)(3) would require all avocados to be cleaned of all 
plant debris before packing. This procedure would ensure that the fruit 
alone is exported to the United States; other parts of the avocado tree 
may harbor pests other than the quarantine pest C. capitata, and the 
cleaning process helps to remove them.
    Paragraph (e)(4) would state that cartons or boxes in which 
avocados are packed would be required to be labeled with a lot number 
that provides information to identify the orchard where the fruit was 
grown and the packinghouse where the fruit was packed. The labeling 
would have to be large enough to clearly display the required 
information and be located on the side of cartons to facilitate 
inspection by APHIS.
    Paragraph (e)(5) would require avocados to be packed in insect-
proof packaging, or covered with insect-proof mesh or a plastic 
tarpaulin, for transport to the United States, to prevent fruit fly 
infestation after the fruit is packed. These safeguards would have to 
remain intact until arrival in the United States.
    Paragraph (e)(6) would require shipping documents accompanying 
consignments of avocados from continental Spain that are exported to 
the United States to include the official registration number of the 
place of production at which the avocados were grown and to identify 
the packing shed or sheds in which the fruit was processed and packed. 
This identification would have to be maintained until the fruit is 
released for entry into the United States. These requirements would 
ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Spain could identify the packinghouse 
at which the fruit was packed if inspectors find C. capitata in the 
fruit either before export or at the port of entry.

Inspection by the NPPO of Spain

    To ensure that the mitigations required in the systems approach are 
effective at producing fruit free of quarantine pests, paragraph (f) of 
proposed Sec.  319.56-58 would require inspectors from the NPPO of 
Spain to inspect a biometric sample from each place of production at a 
rate to be determined by APHIS. The inspectors would have to visually 
inspect the fruit and a portion of the fruit would be cut open to 
inspect for internal stages of C. capitata. If C. capitata is detected 
in this inspection, the place of production where the infested avocados 
were grown would immediately be suspended from the export program until 
an investigation has been conducted by APHIS and the NPPO of Spain and 
appropriate mitigations have been implemented.

Phytosanitary Certificate

    To certify that the avocados from continental Spain have been grown 
and packed in accordance with the requirements of proposed Sec.  
319.56-58, proposed paragraph (g) would require each consignment of 
avocados imported from Spain into the United States to be accompanied 
by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Spain. The 
phytosanitary certificate accompanying Hass variety avocados would have 
to contain an additional declaration stating that the avocados are Hass 
variety and were grown in an approved place of production and the 
consignment has been inspected and found free of C. capitata. The 
phytosanitary certificate accompanying non-Hass avocados would have to 
contain an additional declaration stating that the avocados were grown 
in an approved place of production and the consignment has been 
inspected and found free of C. capitata and, if treated prior to 
export, that the consignment has been treated for C. capitata in 
accordance with 7 CFR part 305.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule has been 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 set forth below.
    The NPPO of Spain has requested that APHIS authorize market access 
for

[[Page 6225]]

commercial shipments of fresh avocados into the United States for 
domestic consumption. APHIS is proposing to grant this request if Spain 
produces the avocados in accordance with a systems approach intended to 
prevent the introduction of quarantine pests.
    In 2009, the United States was the world's third largest avocado 
producer, after Mexico and Chile; the United States accounted for about 
7 percent of global production, while Mexico and Chile accounted for 32 
percent and 9 percent, respectively. U.S. commercial production of 
avocado occurs in three States. California accounts for about 90 
percent of U.S. production, followed by Florida with about 9 percent, 
and Hawaii with less than 1 percent. In 2010, U.S. utilized production 
of avocado totaled about 135,500 metric tons (MT), only one-half of the 
271,000 MT produced in 2009, and indicative of the significant 
variability in yield from year to year.
    In the last decade, U.S. per capita consumption of avocado has 
risen significantly, from 1 kilogram in 2000 to 1.86 kilograms in 2010, 
representing an annual growth rate of about 6.4 percent. Although the 
United States is a major producer of avocado, it is also the largest 
import market (since 2002) and has been a net importer since the late 
1980s. During this time, the gap between U.S. imports and U.S. exports 
has widened substantially. The average annual value of U.S. avocado 
imports, 2008-2010, was nearly $622 million, compared to average annual 
exports valued at less than $16 million.
    Spanish avocado producers expect to export to the United States 
about 260 MT of fresh avocado annually, an amount equivalent to 0.15 
percent of U.S. production, 0.07 percent of U.S. net imports (imports 
minus exports), and 0.05 percent of U.S. supply (production plus net 
imports), based on 2008-2010 average annual U.S. production and trade 
quantities.
    Entities that may be directly affected by the proposed rule are 
U.S. importers and producers of avocado. Avocado importers are 
classified in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 
under Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Merchant Wholesalers (NAICS 424480). 
Avocado producers are classified under Other Noncitrus Fruit Farming 
(NAICS 111339). The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established 
guidelines for determining which establishments are to be considered 
small. A firm primarily engaged in fresh fruit and vegetable 
wholesaling is considered small if it employs not more than 100 
persons. A firm primarily engaged in noncitrus fruit farming is 
considered small if it has annual sales of not more than $750,000.
    In 2007, nearly 95 percent of fruit and vegetable wholesale 
establishments (4,207 of 4,437 businesses) that operated the entire 
year were small by the SBA's small-entity threshold of not more than 
100 employees. That same year, nearly 93 percent of farms that sold 
fruits, tree nuts, or berries (104,424 of 112,690 operations) had 
annual sales of less than $500,000, well below the SBA's small-entity 
threshold of $750,000. The subset of these farms that comprise the 
industry Other Noncitrus Fruit Farming numbered 23,641, and can be 
assumed to be also primarily composed of small entities. Of these Other 
Noncitrus Fruit Farming establishments, there were 8,245 avocado farms 
in 2007, also presumed to be principally small operations.
    While most entities that may be affected by the proposed rule are 
small, any effects would be insignificant because of the small quantity 
of avocado expected to be imported from continental Spain.
    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 avocados to be imported into the 
United States from continental Spain. If this proposed rule is adopted, 
State and local laws and regulations regarding avocados imported under 
this rule would be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. 
Fresh avocados 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-
2012-0002. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2012-0002, 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.
    We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to 
allow the importation of avocados from continental Spain into the 
United States, including Hawaii and U.S. territories. As a condition of 
entry, avocados from continental Spain would have to be produced in 
accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for 
importation in commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of 
places of production and packinghouses; grove sanitation; and 
inspection for quarantine pests by the NPPO of Spain. Implementation of 
this proposed rule would require the submission of documents such as 
phytosanitary certificates, trust fund agreements, workplans, records 
for recordkeeping, and production site and packinghouse registration 
and inspection forms. This proposed rule will also require the labeling 
of boxes or cartons.
    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

[[Page 6226]]

is estimated to average 0.029503 hours per response.
    Respondents: Producers and importers of avocados and the NPPO of 
Spain.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 28.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 515.6785.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 14,439.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 426 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

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. Add Sec.  319.56-58 to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-58  Avocados from continental Spain.

    Fresh avocados (Persea americana P. Mill.) may be imported into the 
United States from continental Spain (excluding the Balaeric Islands 
and Canary Islands) only under the conditions described in this 
section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of 
the quarantine pest Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), the Mediterranean 
fruit fly.
    (a) General requirements. (1) The national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) of Spain must provide a workplan to APHIS that 
details the activities that the NPPO of Spain will, subject to APHIS' 
approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this 
section. The NPPO of Spain must also establish a trust fund in 
accordance with Sec.  319.56-6.
    (2) The avocados must be grown at places of production in 
continental Spain that are registered with the NPPO of Spain and that 
meet the requirements of this section.
    (3) The avocados must be packed for export to the United States in 
packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Spain and that meet 
the requirements of this section.
    (4) Avocados from Spain may be imported in commercial consignments 
only.
    (5) Avocados other than Hass variety from continental Spain must be 
treated for C. capitata in accordance with part 305 of this chapter.
    (b) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of Spain must visit and 
inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 2 
months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping 
season, to verify that the growers are complying with the requirements 
of paragraph (c) of this section and follow pest control guidelines, 
when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations.
    (2) In addition to conducting fruit inspections at the 
packinghouses, the NPPO of Spain must monitor packinghouse operations 
to verify that the packinghouses are complying with the requirements of 
paragraph (e) of this section.
    (3) If the NPPO of Spain 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 Spain conduct 
an investigation and appropriate remedial actions have been 
implemented.
    (4) The NPPO of Spain must 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.
    (c) Grove sanitation. Avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees 
must be removed from each place of production at least once every 7 
days, starting 2 months before harvest and continuing to the end of 
harvest. Fallen avocado fruit may not be included in field containers 
of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for export.
    (d) Harvesting requirements. Harvested avocados must be placed in 
field cartons or containers that are marked with the official 
registration number of the place of production. The place of production 
where the avocados were grown must remain identifiable when the fruit 
leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export 
process. The fruit must be moved to a registered packinghouse within 3 
hours of harvest or must be protected from fruit fly infestation until 
moved. The fruit must be safeguarded by an insect-proof screen or 
plastic tarpaulin while in transit to the packinghouse and while 
awaiting packing.
    (e) Packinghouse requirements. (1) During the time registered 
packinghouses are in use for packing avocados for export to the United 
States, the packinghouses may only accept avocados that are from 
registered places of production and that are produced in accordance 
with the requirements of this section.
    (2) Avocados must be packed within 24 hours of harvest in an 
insect-exclusionary packinghouse. All openings to the outside of the 
packinghouse 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 packinghouse must have double doors at the entrance to the facility 
and at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados are packed.
    (3) Before packing, all avocados must be cleaned of all plant 
debris.
    (4) Boxes or cartons in which avocados are packed must be labeled 
with a lot number that provides information to identify the orchard 
where grown and the packinghouse where packed. The labeling must be 
large enough to clearly display the required information and must be 
located on the outside of the boxes to facilitate inspection.
    (5) Avocados must be packed in insect-proof packaging, or covered 
with insect-proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin, for transport to the 
United States. These safeguards must remain intact until arrival in the 
United States.
    (6) Shipping documents accompanying consignments of avocados from 
continental Spain that are exported to the United States must include 
the official registration number of the place of production at which 
the avocados were grown and must identify the packing shed or sheds in 
which the fruit was processed and packed. This identification must be 
maintained until

[[Page 6227]]

the fruit is released for entry into the United States.
    (f) NPPO of Spain inspection. Following any post-harvest 
processing, inspectors from the NPPO of Spain must inspect a biometric 
sample of fruit at a rate determined by APHIS. Inspectors must visually 
inspect the fruit and cut a portion of the fruit to inspect for C. 
capitata. If any C. capitata are detected in this inspection, the place 
of production where the infested avocados were grown will immediately 
be suspended from the export program until an investigation has been 
conducted by APHIS and the NPPO of Spain and appropriate mitigations 
have been implemented.
    (g) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of avocados 
imported from Spain into the United States must be accompanied by a 
phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Spain.
    (1) The phytosanitary certificate accompanying Hass variety 
avocados must contain an additional declaration stating that the 
avocados are Hass variety and were grown in an approved place of 
production and the consignment has been inspected and found free of C. 
capitata.
    (2) The phytosanitary certificate accompanying non-Hass avocados 
must contain an additional declaration stating that the avocados were 
grown in an approved place of production and the consignment has been 
inspected and found free of C. capitata. If the consignment has been 
subjected to treatment for C. capitata prior to export in accordance 
with 7 CFR part 305, the additional declaration must also state this.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 25th day of January 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02017 Filed 1-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P