[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 81 (Friday, April 26, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24670-24671]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09929]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 94

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0094]


Notice of a Determination Regarding the Swine Vesicular Disease 
Status of Certain Regions in Italy

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Determination.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that we have determined that the 
Italian Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piemonte and 
the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano are free of swine 
vesicular disease. Based on an assessment of the animal health status 
of these areas, which we made available to the public for review and 
comment through a previous notice of availability, the Administrator 
has determined that the importation of pork or pork products from these 
areas presents a low risk of introducing swine vesicular disease into 
the United States. This determination is based on our review of the 
documentation submitted by the Government of Italy in support of its 
request and the findings of our own animal health risk evaluation.

DATES: Effective Date: May 28, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Chip Wells, Senior Staff 
Veterinarian, Regionalization Evaluation Services, Sanitary Trade 
Issues Team, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 
River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3089.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the 
regulations) govern the importation of certain animals and animal 
products into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of 
various communicable diseases, including swine vesicular disease (SVD). 
SVD is a dangerous and destructive communicable disease of swine.
    Sections 94.12 and 94.14 of the regulations contain requirements 
governing the importation of pork and pork products and swine, 
respectively, from regions where SVD exists in order to prevent the 
introduction of the disease into the United States. We consider SVD to 
exist in all regions except those listed in accordance with Sec.  
94.12(a)(2) as being free of SVD.
    Section 94.13 of the regulations contains requirements governing 
the importation of pork or pork products from regions that have been 
determined to be free of SVD, but that are subject to certain 
restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships 
with SVD-affected regions. Such regions are listed in accordance with 
paragraph (a)(2) of that section.
    The regulations in 9 CFR 92.2, contain requirements for requesting 
the recognition of the animal health status of a region or for the 
approval of the export of a particular type of animal or animal product 
to the United States from a foreign region. If, after review and 
evaluation of the information submitted in support of the request, the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) believes the request 
can be safely granted, APHIS will make its evaluation available for 
public comment through a notice published in the Federal Register.
    Following the close of the comment period, APHIS will review all 
comments received and will make a final determination regarding the 
request that will be detailed in another notice published in the 
Federal Register.
    In accordance with that process, on December 18, 2012, we published 
in the Federal Register (77 FR 74787-74788, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0094) 
a notice of availability \1\ in which we announced the availability for 
review and comment of our evaluation of the SVD status of the Italian 
Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piemonte and the 
autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano. Based on this evaluation, 
we determined that that the surveillance, prevention, and control 
measures implemented by Italy in the four Regions and two autonomous 
provinces under consideration as being free of SVD are sufficient to 
minimize the likelihood of introducing SVD into the United States via 
imports of SVD-susceptible species or products. However, because of the 
Regions' and autonomous provinces' proximity to or trading 
relationships with SVD-affected regions, we found that it is necessary 
to impose additional restrictions in accordance with Sec.  94.13 on the 
importation of pork or pork products from the areas of Italy under 
consideration for being declared free of SVD.
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    \1\ To view the notice of availability, the assessments, and the 
comment we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0094.
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    We solicited comments on the notice of availability for 60 days 
ending on February 19, 2013. We received one comment on our evaluation, 
from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and 
Consumers. The commenter was supportive of our proposed action, but 
raised several additional points relating to the timeline for the final 
determination, the disease status of Italy, and our characterization of 
the regulations. The comments are discussed below.
    The commenter stated that the last outbreak of SVD anywhere in 
Italy had occurred over 9 months ago and, consequently, all of Italy 
has now been declared officially free of SVD according

[[Page 24671]]

to standards established by the World Organisation for Animal Health 
(OIE).
    Reconsideration of the status of the remainder of Italy is beyond 
the scope of this determination, which addresses APHIS' evaluation and 
recognition of the SVD status of the Italian Regions of Lombardia, 
Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piemonte and the autonomous provinces of 
Trento and Bolzano. We are willing to work with the European Commission 
or the Government of Italy, should they request an additional 
evaluation that considers the SVD status of the remainder of Italy. In 
order to declare Italy to be free of SVD, we would need to conduct our 
own evaluation to assess the SVD-status of any additional regions in 
Italy.
    The commenter said that Italy has already adopted all the 
safeguards necessary to avoid the spread of SVD and therefore 
additional requirements governing the importation of pork or pork 
products from regions that have been determined to be free of SVD, but 
that are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to 
or trading relationships with SVD-affected regions, are unnecessary.
    We disagree with the commenter's assertion. As discussed in the 
risk analysis supporting the initial notice of availability, European 
Union and Italian regulations do not restrict the movement of pork or 
pork products from regions considered by APHIS to be SVD-affected into 
SVD-free regions, unless that pork is from swine that have tested 
positive for SVD or is from swine slaughtered as a result of an SVD 
outbreak. Therefore, there is the possibility that pork and pork 
products could be moved from an area considered to be SVD-affected by 
APHIS into a recognized free region of Italy, and subsequently be 
exported to the United States. To mitigate this risk, we will apply the 
restrictions listed in Sec.  94.13, which prohibit the importation of 
fresh pork or pork products derived from swine originating in regions 
considered to be SVD-affected, to exports of pork and pork products 
from the Italian Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and 
Piemonte and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano.
    The commenter requested that we provide a timeline concerning 
implementation of our final decision and action regarding the SVD 
status of the Italian Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and 
Piemonte and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano.
    This final determination establishes the effective date for the 
action taken by APHIS in regards to the SVD status of Italy as May 28, 
2013.
    The initial notice of availability described the regulations in 9 
CFR part 94 as governing the importation of certain animals and animal 
products into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of 
various communicable diseases, including SVD. The notice of 
availability further classed the diseases described in 9 CFR part 94 as 
``dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and 
swine.'' The commenter observed that, as the notice of availability was 
on the subject of SVD, it would be more appropriate to exclude the 
reference to ruminants to avoid any confusion.
    The language referenced by the commenter is what we commonly use to 
characterize the regulations in 9 CFR part 94, which also cover 
ruminant diseases. We have, however, altered the wording in this final 
determination in order to make our focus clear.
    In our December 2012 notice of availability we stated that we would 
consider any comments received and announce our decision regarding the 
disease status of the Italian Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, 
Veneto, and Piemonte and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano 
with respect to SVD and the import status of pork and pork products. 
Based on the findings of our evaluation and the absence of comments 
that would lead us to reconsider those findings, we are announcing our 
determination to add the Italian Regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, 
Veneto, and Piemonte and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano 
to the list of regions declared free of SVD and to the list of regions 
that have been determined to be free of SVD, but that are subject to 
certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading 
relationships with SVD-affected regions. These lists are available on 
the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/animal_import/animal_imports_svd.shtml.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 
U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 22nd day of April 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09929 Filed 4-25-13; 8:45 am]
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