[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 251 (Tuesday, December 31, 2013)]
[Unknown Section]
[Pages 79568-79573]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31190]



[[Page 79568]]

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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: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow 
the importation of avocados from continental Spain (excluding the 
Balearic Islands and Canary Islands) into the United States. As a 
condition of entry, avocados from Spain will have to be produced in 
accordance with a systems approach that includes registration of 
production locations and packinghouses, pest monitoring, sanitary 
practices, chemical and biological controls, and phytosanitary 
treatment. The fruit will have to be imported in commercial 
consignments, with each consignment identified throughout its movement 
from place of production to the port of entry in the United States. 
Consignments will have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate 
issued by the national plant protection organization of Spain 
certifying that the fruit is free from all quarantine pests and has 
been produced in accordance with the systems approach. 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. This action will allow for the 
importation of avocados from continental Spain while continuing to 
protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States.

DATES: Effective Date: January 30, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith C. Jones, Senior 
Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, 
PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 
851-2018.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56-
1 through 319.56-63, 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.
    On January 30, 2013, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) published in the Federal Register (78 FR 6222-6227, Docket No. 
APHIS-2012-0002), a proposal \1\ to amend the fruits and vegetables 
regulations to allow the importation of avocados from continental Spain 
(excluding the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands) into the United 
States subject to a systems approach and treatment. We proposed to 
allow the importation of avocados from continental Spain only if they 
were produced in accordance with a systems approach jointly agreed upon 
in a bilateral workplan between APHIS and the national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) of Spain. The systems approach addresses 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.
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    \1\ To view the proposed rule, supporting documents, and the 
comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0002.
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    The proposed systems approach included the following requirements:
     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 C. capitata; and
     Cold treatment for avocado varieties other than Hass.
    Additionally, we proposed that all avocados from Spain must 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 proposed to add these requirements to the regulations in a 
new Sec.  319.56-58 titled Avocados from continental Spain.\2\
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    \2\ In this final rule, the provisions of the systems approach 
are added as Sec.  319.56-64. We discuss the comments in terms of 
provisions of proposed Sec.  319.56-58 so that the reader can follow 
along with the proposal.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
April 1, 2013. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until 
June 13, 2013, in a document published in the Federal Register on May 
29, 2013 (78 FR 32183-32184, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0002). We received 
20 comments by that date. They were from the European Union (EU), a 
State department of agriculture, an organization representing State 
plant regulatory agencies, domestic avocado growers, and private 
citizens. They are discussed below by topic.
    One commenter stated that the proposed rule identifies the NPPO of 
Spain as the body responsible for conducting and supervising 
inspections, monitoring, trapping, surveying, etc., in the systems 
approach. However, there are other bodies and stakeholders involved, 
such as the Spanish Autonomous Communities (the first-level political 
and administrative divisions in Spain), auditing companies, integrated 
pest management associations, and field technicians and advisors, as 
defined by Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the 
Council of October 21, 2009, establishing a framework for EU action to 
achieve the sustainable use of pesticides. The commenter stated that 
responsibilities of each partner should be specified in future 
workplans under the rules.
    Under APHIS programs, the NPPO certifies that it is taking 
responsibility to ensure that these other involved parties act under 
NPPO direction and perform the actions required by the regulations and 
workplan. Whether the NPPO achieves this through other parties whose 
roles are described in EC Directives or other means is an internal 
matter not subject to our regulations. If the NPPO desires, workplans 
for the avocado program can include information about which entities 
will perform which required actions, but in the event of failure to 
perform any required action APHIS will hold only the NPPO responsible 
for correcting the problems. We note that the cited EC Directive 
addresses only pesticide use and integrated pest management, rather 
than systems approaches for the growth

[[Page 79569]]

and certification of crops for export, and even within that scope the 
Directive emphasizes in many places the responsibility of competent 
authorities in the Member State to ensure required actions are taken.
    One comment addressed the requirement proposed in Sec.  319.56-
58(b)(1) that ``[t]he 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 proposed requirements. The commenter 
stated that the harvest period is approximately February 1 through May 
1, which would mean six inspections from December to May. The commenter 
stated that six inspection visits are unnecessary and not cost-
effective, and suggested instead that the NPPO visit production sites 
once at the beginning of the export season, once during harvest, and at 
any other times the NPPO finds necessary to verify compliance. The 
commenter noted that throughout harvest the NPPO, the Autonomous 
Communities, and the auditing companies employed by them would control, 
evaluate, and validate field notebooks maintained by growers and 
inspection reports from field technicians or advisors.
    APHIS is making two changes in response to this comment. It is 
essential that the NPPO effectively monitor compliance before and 
during harvest to identify and prevent pest risks. However, effective 
inspection does not necessarily require six visits each year, and 
depending on the personnel authorized by the NPPO to conduct various 
compliance monitoring activities, it may not be necessary that NPPO 
employees visit each production site each month. While it is important 
that the production site be inspected prior to harvest, both to look 
for early signs of pests that may not be as visible later and to 
familiarize the inspector with the production area, upon further 
consideration we believe a reasonable standard is that a pre-harvest 
inspection occur at least 1 month prior to harvest rather than the 
proposed 2 months. Therefore, we are changing the proposed standard to 
read ``starting at least 1 month before harvest.'' We also note that 
the term ``before harvest'' refers to the harvest as conducted at each 
production site, not to the harvest season in general. This could 
result in fewer inspections in some cases. For example, if a production 
site begins its harvest on February 15 and ends it April 15, its 
inspections could be scheduled on January, February, March, and April 
10 (or various other dates), for a total of four inspections. We also 
note that, as discussed above, production site inspections are the 
responsibility of the NPPO and must be done under NPPO direction to 
verify the conditions and actions required by the regulations and 
workplan.
    While the responsibility for inspections remains with the NPPO, the 
identity of the personnel authorized to conduct inspection-related 
activities may be determined by the NPPO and specified in the workplan. 
We understand that in some cases the NPPO may authorize personnel who 
are not NPPO employees, such as employees of an Autonomous Community or 
an auditing company, to perform duties related to inspection. If so, 
these personnel must be accountable to the NPPO. To make this clear, in 
this final rule we are changing the relevant sentence in proposed Sec.  
319.56-58(b)(1) to read ``The NPPO of Spain, or an authorized person 
designated in the workplan, must visit and inspect. . . .''
    One commenter noted that proposed Sec.  319.56-58(e)(1) would 
require a registered packinghouse to pack no fruit for other markets 
during a period when it packs avocados produced in accordance with the 
proposed rule's systems approach. The commenter suggested that 
packinghouses should be allowed to pack fruit for other markets during 
the same period under conditions to prevent commingling, i.e., that (1) 
the packing lines in packinghouses be cleared prior to packing avocados 
for the United States; and (2) fruit destined to the United States must 
always be identified and stored separately from fruit destined to other 
markets. The commenter stated that this is similar to measures for the 
program to export sweet oranges, clementines, and other mandarins from 
Spain to the United States.
    After careful consideration, we have decided to change the rule in 
response to this comment, according to the following reasoning. 
Consider the following scenario for avocados produced in accordance 
with the proposed rule (regulated avocados). There are two areas of 
pest risk associated with the packinghouse. There is a very minor risk 
that C. capitata could enter the packinghouse associated with other 
articles destined for other markets, move to regulated avocados, and 
lay eggs in the regulated avocados. This is very unlikely because 
normal packinghouse operations make such movement of pests between lots 
exceedingly rare. There is a slightly larger risk that articles 
destined for other markets could become accidentally mixed with 
regulated avocados and shipped to the United States. If the other 
articles were better hosts than regulated avocados, e.g., untreated 
non-Hass avocado varieties or even fruits other than avocados, such 
admixture could result in C. capitata larvae being shipped to the 
United States. We believe both of these areas of risk can be controlled 
using the type of methods suggested by the commenter. Maintaining the 
identity of regulated avocados at the packinghouse and ensuring 
separation between them and other articles are the key concerns. The 
proposed rule, in Sec.  319.56-58(d), states that regulated avocados 
must ``remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the grove, at the 
packinghouse, and throughout the export process.''
    This identity requirement will aid achieving separation in the 
packinghouse. To fully achieve effective separation, we are changing 
proposed Sec.  319.56-58(e)(1) to read as follows: ``During the time 
registered packinghouses are in use for packing avocados for export to 
the United States in accordance with the requirements of this section, 
packing lines must be cleared of all other articles and plant debris 
prior to packing such avocados, and such avocados must be stored in a 
room separate from any other fruits, plant articles, and other 
potential C. capitata hosts while the avocados are at the 
packinghouse.''
    Another commenter stated that the proposal indicates 
``Packinghouses should not pack avocados for other countries while 
packing for the United States.'' The commenter stated that this 
language needs to be more directive and inclusive, such as: ``During 
the time the packinghouse is in use for exporting avocados to the 
United States, the packinghouse may only receive fruit from registered, 
approved places of production.''
    The sentence containing the word ``should'' that was quoted by the 
commenter appears in the risk management document (RMD) that was 
prepared prior to the proposed rule and made available with it. The RMD 
was an evaluative and advisory document that was used during 
decisionmaking for the proposed rule. The corresponding language in 
Sec.  319.56-58(e) of the proposed rule was mandatory, and read 
``packinghouses may only accept avocados that are from registered 
places of production.'' However, as discussed with regard to the 
comment above, we have changed the standard in this final rule for the 
circumstances under which other articles may be allowed in a 
packinghouse at the same time as regulated avocados.

[[Page 79570]]

    The same commenter stated that, while the proposed rule calls for 
registered orchards to practice field sanitation and pest control 
measures, there is no requirement for trapping to monitor for C. 
capitata in avocado production blocks.
    That is correct, and we are not making any change in response to 
this comment. A specific trapping requirement is not necessary because 
the foundation of the proposal is not freedom of the grove areas from 
C. capitata, but rather the 2010 APHIS finding that intact Hass 
avocados with the stem attached are not a host to C. capitata and our 
requirement for treatment of other avocado varieties that are better 
hosts. We note that while trapping is not needed and therefore is not 
required by the proposed rule, it is necessary and required for export 
of articles that are better C. capitata hosts, e.g., citrus, and that 
to the best of our knowledge the regions that will be exporting Hass 
avocados also export citrus. In those regions, the autonomous 
communities conduct annual surveys for C. capitata and perform mass 
trapping and surveillance trapping under the Mediterranean fruit fly 
management program established by the Government of Spain (see, e.g., 
``Real Decreto 461/2004, de 18 de marzo, por el que se establece el 
Programa nacional de control de la mosca mediterr[aacute]nea de la 
fruta'' at http://www.lexureditorial.com/boe/0404/05823.htm).
    One commenter stated that allowing avocado imports instead of 
supporting the domestic avocado industry is short-sighted and counter-
productive, and noted that domestic growers have recently been 
challenged by both natural factors (such as cold, wind, heat, fire, and 
lack of water) as well as market conditions. Several other commenters 
objected in general terms to the economic effects of importing avocados 
rather than relying on domestic production.
    We are not making any change in response to this comment. The Plant 
Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the authorizing statute for 
APHIS' plant-health-related activities, authorizes the Secretary of 
Agriculture to prohibit or restrict the importation of any plant 
product if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction 
is necessary to prevent the introduction of a plant pest or noxious 
weed into the United States. We have determined that the measures in 
the systems approach we proposed, amended as described earlier, are 
sufficient to prevent the introduction of any plant pests. The factors 
cited by the commenters are not within our decisionmaking authority 
under the Act.
    We have analyzed the economic effects of this rule as required by 
Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, both in the 
proposed rule and in the section below. Part of this analysis concluded 
that it is likely that at least a portion of the projected avocado 
imports from Spain would displace imports from other foreign sources 
rather than domestic sources when fresh avocado supplies are low and 
demand is high. The analysis also concluded that the projected volume 
of avocado imports from Spain, a few hundred metric tons, is well under 
half of 1 percent of domestic production and would therefore have minor 
economic effects.
    The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 
commented on the requirement in proposed Sec.  319.56-58(a)(5) that 
avocados other than Hass variety from continental Spain must be treated 
for C. capitata. We proposed to require cold treatment in accordance 
with the regulations in 7 CFR 305.6, which allows treatment to occur 
prior to export to the United States, or upon arrival prior to release. 
The commenter stated that allowing untreated product into Florida for 
treatment would greatly increase the possibility of introducing C. 
capitata and is a major departure from long-standing plant protection 
protocols. It also stated that the required treatments should not 
preclude an additional high level of inspection at the port of entry to 
ensure procedures are in place to confirm the treatments were applied 
properly.
    We are not making any change to the rule in response to this 
comment. The rule will not authorize treatment of any avocados in 
Florida. We expect post-arrival cold treatment will be infrequent since 
the industry norm is cold treatment prior to departure or in transit. 
Further, the regulations will continue to prohibit cold treatment after 
arrival in Florida. The current regulations on cold treatment, 7 CFR 
305.6, allow the establishment of cold treatment facilities for 
imported articles in certain specific areas of the United States as 
follows. Facilities may be located on the mainland United States either 
in the area that is north of 39[deg] latitude and east of 104[deg] 
longitude, or under special conditions at one of the following ports: 
The maritime ports of Wilmington, NC; Seattle, WA; Corpus Christi, TX; 
and Gulfport, MS; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, WA; 
and Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, GA. In a recent 
proposed rule (78 FR 27864-27866; Docket No. APHIS-2012-0089, published 
May 13, 2013), we proposed adding MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, 
Mascoutah, IL, to this list.
    The ability of these facilities to conduct cold treatments without 
spreading and establishing fruit fly populations has been documented 
several times, most recently in a treatment evaluation document 
prepared for the proposed rule mentioned above, and in an earlier APHIS 
study ``Characterizing and mitigating relative risk associated with the 
movement of tropical fruit fly host material into the United States for 
cold treatment at certain ports.'' Both of these documents have been 
added to the administrative record for this rule, available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0002.
    With regard to the commenter's second point about inspection levels 
at the port of entry, APHIS inspection will serve as a check on the 
effectiveness of the systems approach. We do not plan to inspect at a 
higher level than our usual level, unless evidence indicates that there 
may be a problem with the implementation of the systems approach. We 
have found the NPPO of Spain to have the necessary resources and 
capacity to implement the systems approach, but will continually 
monitor the program's effectiveness through activities both in Spain 
and through inspections upon arrival.
    This commenter also asked what corrective measures will be taken to 
prevent a reoccurrence if inspectors find live larvae during 
inspection, and what penalties will apply in such cases.
    Proposed Sec.  319.56-58(f) stated that if any C. capitata are 
detected in the required postharvest inspection in Spain, 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. If any C. capitata are detected through 
inspection at arrival, APHIS will refuse entry to the shipment unless 
an inspector finds it can be treated to destroy the pests, and APHIS 
may also order the place of production where the infested avocados were 
grown to be immediately suspended from the export program pending an 
investigation.
    Another commenter stated that we should not apply the proposed 
Sec.  319.56-58(f) requirement to non-Hass variety avocados. Under that 
requirement, if any C. capitata are detected in the required 
postharvest inspection in Spain of non-Hass avocados, the place of 
production where

[[Page 79571]]

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. 
The commenter noted that this means that if a single larva of C. 
capitata is found, the entire consignment of non-Hass avocados would be 
rejected. However, a certain percentage of infestation should be 
accepted for non-Hass varieties because they will be subjected to a 
cold treatment. The commenter stated that this is the case in other 
bilateral workplans between the United States and Spain, e.g., the 
preclearance operational workplan for the export of sweet oranges, 
clementines, and other mandarins from Spain.
    We are not making any change based on this comment. Given the 
serious threat C. capitata poses, we believe that it is reasonable to 
have no tolerance level for C. capitata infestation, and to stop 
accepting shipments from a production site pending investigation when a 
single larvae is found during inspection. Furthermore, neither the 
operational plan nor the regulations for shipment of sweet oranges, 
clementines, and mandarins has such a tolerance. The regulations in 
this area are even stricter, in consideration of the better host status 
of such citrus. The relevant section for clementines, Sec.  319.56-
34(f), states ``If inspectors find a single live Mediterranean fruit 
fly in any stage of development during an inspection, the entire 
consignment of clementines will be rejected. If a live Mediterranean 
fruit fly in any stage of development is found in any two lots of fruit 
from the same orchard during the same shipping season, that orchard 
will be removed from the export program for the remainder of that 
shipping season.''
    One commenter suggested a biometric sample size of 200 fruits for 
the post-harvest inspection of C. capitata. The commenter calculated 
that sample size using the standard in International Standards for 
Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 31, ``Methodologies for sampling of 
consignments'' (IPPC, 2009 \3\). The commenter stated that calculating 
sample size for 95 percent confidence level, at a 2 percent level of 
detection, according to a 75 percent efficacy value where the lot size 
is large and sufficiently mixed, yields 199 or 200 fruits by the 
binomial or Poisson distribution, respectively.
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    \3\ To view this and other ISPMs on the Internet, go to http://www.ippc.int/IPP/En/default.jsp and click on the ``Adopted ISPMs'' 
link under the ``Standards (ISPMs)'' heading.
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    We do not disagree with the commenter's methodology, but as stated 
in the proposed rule, the actual sampling rate with be worked out by 
technical experts in APHIS in consultation with their counterparts in 
the NPPO of Spain. The sample size will then be specified in the 
workplan required by proposed Sec.  319.56-58(a). Specifying the sample 
size in the workplan rather than the regulations will give us the 
flexibility to raise or lower the fruit sampling rate when conditions 
indicate a higher or lower risk of C. capitata infestation.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the 
changes discussed in this document.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final 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.
    In response to a request by the NPPO of Spain that APHIS authorize 
market access for commercial shipments of fresh avocados into the 
United States, APHIS is allowing the importation of such shipments 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. 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 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 rule are small, any 
effects should 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

[[Page 79572]]

determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows avocados to be imported into the United 
States from continental Spain. State and local laws and regulations 
regarding avocados imported under this rule will 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. 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 final rule, which were 
filed under 0579-0400, have been submitted for approval to the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB). When OMB notifies us of its decision, 
if approval is denied, we will publish a document in the Federal 
Register providing notice of what action we plan to take.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the EGovernment 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 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.  319.56-64 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-64  Avocados from continental Spain.

    Fresh avocados (Persea americana P. Mill.) may be imported into the 
United States from continental Spain (excluding the Balearic 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, or an 
authorized person designated in the workplan, must visit and inspect 
registered places of production monthly, starting at least 1 month 
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 in accordance with the requirements of this section, packing 
lines must be cleared of all other articles and plant debris prior to 
packing such avocados, and such avocados must be stored in a room 
separate from any other fruits, plant articles, and other potential C. 
capitata hosts while the avocados are at the packinghouse.
    (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

[[Page 79573]]

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 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.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control 
number 0579-0400)

    Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of December 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-31190 Filed 12-30-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P