[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 79 (Wednesday, April 24, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24154-24155]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09733]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0105]


Notice of Availability of a National Animal Health Laboratory 
Network Reorganization Concept Paper

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service is making available a concept paper that describes a 
revised structure for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network 
(NAHLN) for public review and comment. The NAHLN is a nationally 
coordinated network and partnership of Federal, State, and university-
associated animal health laboratories working to protect animal and 
public health and the nation's food supply by providing diagnostic 
testing aimed at detecting biological threats to the nation's food 
animals. The concept paper we are making available for comment presents 
a structure we believe will give the NAHLN increased capacity and 
flexibility to detect and respond to emerging and zoonotic diseases.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 
24, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0105-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No.

[[Page 24155]]

APHIS-2012-0105, 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-
0105 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: Dr. Sarah Tomlinson, Associate 
Coordinator, National Animal Health Laboratory Network, Veterinary 
Services, APHIS, 2140 Centre Avenue, Building B, Fort Collins, CO 
80526; (970) 494-7152.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is a 
nationally coordinated network and partnership of Federal, State, and 
university-associated animal health laboratories working to protect 
animal and public health and the nation's food supply by providing 
diagnostic testing aimed at detecting biological threats to the 
nation's food animals. Participating NAHLN laboratories are currently 
designated as Core, Member, Contract, or Adjunct laboratories, 
depending on their testing capacities, geographical distribution, and 
degree of specialization. Oversight and administration of the NAHLN is 
provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through 
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Input and 
leadership is provided to the NAHLN by a Coordinating Council composed 
of USDA and State regulatory animal health officials and State employee 
representatives of NAHLN laboratories.
    Since its inception in 2002, the NAHLN has expanded from 12 to over 
50 current active participating laboratories, each with varying 
diagnostic capacities. The need and available technology for diagnostic 
testing has also changed. Stakeholder feedback indicates that the 
NAHLN's structure also needs to change in order to expand detection of 
emerging and zoonotic diseases. To address stakeholder feedback, APHIS 
is considering certain elements that we believe will ensure 
continuation of the NAHLN's founding principles while responding to the 
need for additional flexibility and capacity to address identified gaps 
in the nation's surveillance, detection, and response capabilities.
    The concept paper describes the roles and responsibilities of the 
NAHLN Coordinating Council and offers a revised structure for the NAHLN 
that would clarify opportunities for participation by State-based NAHLN 
laboratories. Inclusion of State-based laboratories in the NAHLN allows 
for greater proximity to and linkages with producers and veterinarians, 
which is critical to early detection of foreign animal and emerging 
diseases. Possible criteria and designations for various levels of 
participation, including participation by private laboratories, are set 
forth in the concept paper. Instead of using Core, Member, Contract, or 
Adjunct laboratory designations, participating laboratories would be 
designated as Level 1, 2, or 3, Affiliate Laboratory, or Specialty 
Laboratory, depending on the criteria met by each participating 
laboratory. To maintain designation, qualifying laboratories would 
undergo annual reviews to demonstrate adherence to established NAHLN 
policies and procedures.
    APHIS will consider all comments received on the concept paper in 
determining the appropriate structure and governance for the NAHLN. The 
concept paper for the revised structure of the NAHLN may be viewed on 
the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES 
above for a link to Regulations.gov and information on the location and 
hours of the reading room). You may request paper copies of the 
document by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of this document when 
requesting copies.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 18th day of April 2013.
Kevin Shea,
 Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09733 Filed 4-23-13; 8:45 am]
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