[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 108 (Thursday, June 5, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 32433-32434]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13007]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 108 / Thursday, June 5, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 32433]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2012-0078]
RIN 0579-AD72


Importation of Female Squash Flowers From Israel Into the 
Continental United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations governing the importation of 
fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of female squash flowers 
from Israel into the continental United States. As a condition of 
entry, female squash flowers from Israel will be subject to a systems 
approach that includes requirements for pest exclusion at the 
production site and fruit fly trapping and monitoring. The female 
squash flowers must also be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate 
issued by the national plant protection organization of Israel with an 
additional declaration that the female squash flowers have been 
inspected and found free of quarantine pests. This action will allow 
for the importation of female squash flowers from Israel into the 
continental United States while continuing to provide protection 
against the introduction of quarantine pests.

DATES: Effective July 7, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. George Balady, Senior Regulatory 
Policy Specialist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1236; (301) 851-2240.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-67, 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 May 2, 2013, we published in the Federal Register (78 FR 25620-
25623, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0078) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
regulations by allowing the importation of female squash flowers from 
Israel into the continental United States under a systems approach that 
would include requirements for pest exclusion at the production site 
and fruit fly trapping and monitoring. The female squash flowers would 
also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by 
the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Israel with an 
additional declaration that the female squash flowers have been 
inspected and found free of quarantine pests.
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    \1\ To view the proposed rule, the pest risk analysis, and the 
comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0078.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
July 1, 2013. We received two comments from members of the public by 
that date.
    One commenter supported the proposed rule. One commenter opposed 
the proposed rule, citing no finding of a public benefit for importing 
female squash flowers, a potential slight decrease in the price of the 
commodity, and an additional cost to the U.S. Government for enforcing 
compliance with the regulation.
    Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has the authority to 
prohibit or restrict the importation of plants and plant products only 
when necessary to prevent the introduction into or dissemination of 
plant pests or noxious weeds within the United States. APHIS does not 
have the authority to restrict imports solely on the grounds of 
potential economic effects on domestic entities that could result from 
increased imports.
    The commenter expressed concern about the potential introduction of 
new pests resulting in reduced crop yields, fruit-fly-borne diseases, 
and increased economic and health costs associated with pesticide use. 
The commenter also mentioned the lack of provisions to compensate 
domestic farmers for the harm caused by the failure of importers of 
female squash flowers to comply with the proposed mitigation measures.
    APHIS has determined that the measures outlined in the risk 
management document that accompanied the proposed rule are sufficient 
to mitigate the risk of pests being introduced into the United States 
as a result of the importation of female squash flowers from Israel. 
The commenter did not provide any evidence that the measures would not 
be effective. The NPPO of Israel and APHIS will collaborate to ensure 
that growers and importers comply with the proposed measures, as we do 
in other import programs.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without 
change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule 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 5 U.S.C. 604, we have performed a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding 
the economic effects of this rule on small entities. Copies of the full 
analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 
in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    This final rule will amend the regulations to allow, under certain 
conditions, the importation of female squash flowers (Cucurbita pepo 
L.) from Israel into the continental United States. Squash flowers have 
gained in popularity as an elegant way to garnish dishes, desserts, and 
salads, and as an ingredient in other dishes. Marketing of commercially 
grown edible flowers is typically directed to clientele at upscale 
restaurants.
    Farms that solely produce squash flowers are rare. The blossoms are

[[Page 32434]]

typically a by-product of squash fruit production. Squash is 
commercially produced throughout the United States, but principally in 
Michigan, California, Florida, and Georgia.
    The Small Business Administration's small-entity standard for U.S 
farms that produce squash is annual receipts of not more than $750,000. 
In 2007, the average market value of sales by the 11,821 U.S farms that 
produced squash was about $17,222, well below the small-entity 
standard. We infer that by far most farms producing squash, including 
farms producing squash flowers, are small entities.
    Israel is expecting to export 10 metric tons of fresh female squash 
flowers annually to the United States. We do not know the quantity or 
value of female squash flower production in the United States, or the 
quantity or value of female squash flowers imported from other 
countries. Without basic production and trade information, we are 
unable to evaluate potential impacts of this final rule.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows fresh female squash flowers to be imported 
into the United States from Israel. State and local laws and 
regulations regarding female squash flowers imported under this rule 
will be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh 
vegetables are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale 
to the consuming public, and 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 0579-0406, 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 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 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. Section 319.56-68 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-68  Female squash flowers from Israel.

    Female squash flowers (Cucurbita pepo L.) may be imported into the 
continental United States from Israel only in accordance with this 
section and other applicable provisions of this subpart. These 
conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of the following 
quarantine pests: Ceratitis capitata, Dacus ciliatus, Helicoverpa 
armigera, and Scirtothrips dorsalis.
    (a) Production site requirements. (1) Production sites in which the 
female squash flowers are produced must be registered with the national 
plant protection organization (NPPO) of Israel. Initial approval of 
production sites must be completed jointly by the NPPO of Israel and 
APHIS.
    (2) The NPPO of Israel must visit and inspect the production sites. 
APHIS may monitor the production sites if necessary.
    (3) Production sites must be inside pest-exclusionary structures 
(PES). The PES must have self-closing double doors. All openings, 
including vents, to the outside of the PES must be covered by screening 
with mesh openings of not more than 1.6 mm.
    (b) Mitigation measures for fruit flies (C. capitata and D. 
ciliatus). (1) The NPPO of Israel must set and maintain fruit fly traps 
with an APHIS-approved bait at a rate of one trap per hectare, with a 
minimum of one trap in each PES and one outside the entrance of each 
PES. The NPPO of Israel must check the traps every 7 days and maintain 
records of trap placement, trap maintenance, and captures of any fruit 
flies of concern. The NPPO must maintain trapping records and make the 
records available to APHIS upon request.
    (2) Capture of a single fruit fly of concern inside a production 
site will immediately result in cancellation of exports to the United 
States from that production site. The detection of a fruit fly of 
concern in a consignment at the port of entry that is traced back to a 
production site will also result in immediate cancellation of exports 
to the United States from that production site. In both cases, exports 
from the production site in question may not resume until APHIS and the 
NPPO of Israel have mutually determined that the risk has been properly 
mitigated.
    (c) Packinghouse requirements. While in use for exporting female 
squash flowers to the United States, the packinghouses may only accept 
flowers from registered production sites.
    (d) Post-harvest procedures. Before being removed from the PES, 
harvested female squash flowers must be placed in field cartons or 
containers that are marked to show the official registration number of 
the production site. The place of production where the flowers were 
grown must remain identifiable from the time when the blossoms leave 
the production site, to the packinghouse, and through the export 
process.
    (e) Commercial consignments. The female squash flowers may be 
imported in commercial consignments only.
    (f) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment must be accompanied 
by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Israel with an 
additional declaration stating that the consignment has been inspected 
and found free of Ceratitis capitata, Dacus ciliatus, Helicoverpa 
armigera, and Scirtothrips dorsalis.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control 
number 0579-0406)


    Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of May 2014.
Kevin Shea,
 Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-13007 Filed 6-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P