[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 181 (Monday, September 21, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48013-48014]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-22631]

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.


Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 181 / Monday, September 21, 2009 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 48013]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Parts 301 and 305

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0002]

Regulation of the Interstate Movement of Lemons From an Area 
Quarantined for Mediterranean Fruit Fly

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the list of regulated articles in 
our domestic fruit fly quarantine regulations. The regulations 
currently indicate that smooth-skinned lemons (all varieties of Citrus 
limon) harvested for packing by commercial packinghouses are not 
regulated articles for Mediterranean fruit fly. We are proposing to 
amend the regulations to designate all yellow lemons as regulated 
articles. This proposed change is based on research indicating that, 
under certain conditions, yellow lemons are a host for Mediterranean 
fruit fly. As a result of this proposed action, yellow lemons produced 
in an area quarantined for Mediterranean fruit fly would be subject to 
certain interstate movement restrictions in order to prevent the spread 
of that pest into uninfested areas of the United States.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
November 20, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0002 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0002, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2009-0002.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket in our reading room. The reading room 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) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

Fruit Fly Director, Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Programs, PPQ, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-



    The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly, Ceratitis capitata 
[Wiedemann]) is one of the world's most destructive pests of fruits and 
vegetables. The short life cycle of the Medfly allows rapid development 
of serious outbreaks, which can cause severe economic losses. Heavy 
infestations can cause complete loss of crops.
    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforces 
regulations in 7 CFR part 301, ``Domestic Quarantine Notices,'' that 
are designed to prevent the interstate spread of pests that are new to 
or not widely distributed within the United States. The regulations in 
``Subpart--Fruit Flies,'' contained in Sec. Sec.  301.32 through 
301.32-10 (referred to below as the regulations), are intended to 
prevent the spread of fruit flies designated as plant pests to 
noninfested areas of the United States. To this end, the regulations 
impose restrictions on the interstate movement of articles that are 
hosts of fruit flies or whose movement could otherwise spread fruit 
flies from areas quarantined because of fruit flies. We refer to these 
articles as ``regulated articles.'' The table in Sec.  301.32-2(a), 
``Regulated Articles,'' lists articles subject to domestic quarantine 
regulations for several species of fruit fly, including Medfly. While 
lemons (Citrus limon) are included in the table as a regulated article 
for several types of fruit flies, a footnote to the table indicates 
that smooth-skinned lemons harvested for packing by commercial 
packinghouses are not regulated articles for Medfly.
    The decision to exempt smooth-skinned lemons harvested for packing 
by commercial packinghouses was originally based on research published 
by scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural 
Research Service (ARS).\1\ Citing their own research and other studies 
that examined lemons as a potential Medfly host, ARS scientists noted 
that rind toughness and thickness generally impede Medflies from 
infesting lemons. Moreover, chemicals within the lemon rind are toxic 
to Medfly eggs and any larvae that manage to hatch there. They also 
determined that lemons grown and packed commercially are less likely to 
be infested with plant pests, including Medfly, than noncommercial 

    \1\ Spitler, G.H., J.W. Armstrong, and H.M. Couey. 1984. 
Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) host status of 
commercial lemon. Journal of Economic Entomology 77: 1441-1444.

    However, in 2006 live Medfly larvae were intercepted in commercial 
shipments of lemons from Spain, leading us to re-examine whether lemons 
should be designated as regulated articles in areas quarantined for 
Medfly. We reviewed over 90 scientific publications, including the 
above-referenced 1984 study. We also examined findings from two site 
visits to Medfly-infested lemon-producing areas in Spain and Argentina, 
as well as details of the Medfly infestation in Spanish commercial 
lemons. Our conclusions appear in a report titled ``Lemon (Citrus 
limon) as a host for Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly; Ceratitis 
capitata): A scientific review and status report'' (January 2008). 
Copies of the report may be obtained from the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site 
(see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov), 
or retrieved online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/fruit_flies/index.shtml.

[[Page 48014]]

    Based on our review, we have determined that lemons are a 
conditional non-host for Medfly, meaning that while Medfly generally 
does not infest lemons, it will do so under certain conditions. For 
example, green lemons are not hosts of Medfly, but as they mature they 
become more susceptible to infestation. It is likely that light yellow 
lemons are not at a maturity stage where they would be susceptible to 
Medfly; only damaged or dark yellow, overly mature fruit are considered 
suitable hosts.
    Resistance of lemons to Medfly infestation is causally linked to 
the thickness, toughness, and chemical toxicity of the lemon rind. The 
female Medfly ovipositor normally cannot pierce through the lemon rind 
to lay eggs in the toxin-free pulp, and if it does, the eggs laid 
within the rind are killed by the toxic compounds. However, if the rind 
is thin or damaged, or existing oviposition puncture holes are present, 
females can exploit these vulnerable points by ovipositing into the 
pulp, where Medfly eggs and larvae are more likely to survive and 
develop. A high Medfly population also increases the likelihood of 
lemon infestation due to repeated ovipositing by females into existing 
oviposition holes in the rind. These findings indicate the need to 
designate all varieties of yellow lemons as regulated articles for 
Medfly in our domestic fruit fly quarantine regulations in order to 
prevent the spread of Medfly to uninfested areas of the United States.
    We are therefore proposing to amend the entry for lemons in the 
table of regulated articles in Sec.  301.32-2(a) by removing the 
exemption for smooth-skinned lemons harvested for packing by commercial 
packinghouses, and instead indicating that all varieties of yellow 
lemons are regulated articles for Medfly.
    We are also proposing to amend the phytosanitary treatments 
regulations in 7 CFR part 305 by updating the table in Sec.  
305.2(h)(2)(ii), which includes approved treatments for regulated 
articles moved interstate from areas quarantined for fruit flies, to 
correct two outdated references to the former locations of specific 
provisions of the fruit fly regulations.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule is subject to Executive Order 12866. However, 
for this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    We have prepared an economic analysis for this proposed rule. As 
described in the economic analysis, the majority of producers, 
importers, and merchants that may be affected by the proposed rule are 
small entities. No commercial lemon producers are located in the area 
currently quarantined for Medfly. The number of producers that may be 
affected in the future is not known, since we do not have data on 
production of smooth-skinned lemons harvested for packing by commercial 
packinghouses. Nonetheless, the costs of pre-harvest or post-harvest 
treatments of smooth-skinned lemons that would be required by this rule 
are negligible. 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.
    The full economic analysis may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web 
site or in our reading room. (Instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning 
of this proposed rule.) In addition, copies may be obtained by calling 
or writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 

Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State 
and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule 
will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this 
rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before 
parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 301

    Agricultural commodities, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

7 CFR Part 305

    Irradiation, Phytosanitary treatment, Plant diseases and pests, 
Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR parts 301 and 305 as 


    1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as 

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, 
and 371.3.
    Section 301.75-15 issued under Sec. 204, Title II, Public Law 
106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-293; sections 301.75-15 and 301.75-16 
issued under Sec. 203, Title II, Public Law 106-224, 114 Stat. 400 
(7 U.S.C. 1421 note).

Sec.  301.32-2  [Amended]

    2. In Sec.  301.32-2, paragraph (a), footnote 2 to the table is 
amended by removing the words ``Smooth-skinned lemons harvested for 
packing by commercial packinghouses are not'' and adding the words 
``Only yellow lemons are'' in their place.


    3. The authority citation for part 305 continues to read as 

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 
136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

Sec.  305.2  [Amended]

    4. In Sec.  305.2, the table in paragraph (h)(2)(ii) is amended by 
removing, from the column titled ``Commodity'', the citations ``Sec.  
301.78-2(a)'' and ``Sec.  301.99-2(b)'' and adding the citation ``Sec.  
301.32-2(a)'' in their place.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of September 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-22631 Filed 9-18-09; 8:45 am]