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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh blueberries from
DATES: Effective Date:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms.
The regulations in "Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables" (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-68, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into
FOOTNOTE 1 To view the proposed rule, PRA, RMD, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0016. END FOOTNOTE
Based on the RMD, we proposed to require the blueberries to be produced under a systems approach employing a combination of mitigation measures for two quarantine pests, Ceratitis capitata and Monilinia fructigena, and inspected prior to exportation from
We solicited comments concerning the proposed rule for 60 days ending
General Comments on Proposed Rule
One commenter stated that the Animal and
Such prohibitions would be beyond the scope of APHIS' statutory authority under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq., referred to below as the PPA). Under the PPA, APHIS will prohibit the importation of a fruit or vegetable into
Additionally, as a signatory to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures,
A few commenters expressed concern that the importation of blueberries from
For the reasons explained in the proposed rule, the RMD, and this final rule, we are confident that the systems approach and other requirements of this final rule will adequately mitigate the risks associated with the importation of blueberries from
Comment Regarding Inspections for M. fructigena
We proposed to include in the regulations that blueberries would have to be inspected in the fields for signs of M. fructigena infestation 30 days prior to harvest. This inspection will have to be conducted by the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of
One commenter stated that inspecting a crop 30 days prior to harvest may not ensure that the crop is free from M. fructigena.
We note that in addition to field inspections, which have been shown to be effective, the blueberries are inspected for signs of M. fructigena prior to exportation from
Comment Regarding Treatments for C. capitata
To mitigate the risks associated with C. capitata on blueberries from
One commenter stated that the use of methyl bromide to treat the blueberries for C. capitata would not eliminate the pest from the fruit and would contaminate the fruit, making it unsafe for human consumption.
Fumigation with methyl bromide is an established and proven treatment for blueberries and other fruits and vegetables that is routinely employed to successfully mitigate the risk of C. capitata and other pests. Methyl bromide is approved for use on articles for human consumption.
Comment Regarding the Economic Impacts on Small Businesses
A commenter recommended changes to the proposal to address the economic impacts on small business entities relative to the importation of blueberries from
APHIS does not have the authority to set market price on commodities in
In the preamble to the proposed rule, we included the requirement that "30 days prior to harvest, blueberries be inspected in the field by the NPPO of
In addition, we stated in proposed paragraph (c) that "the exportation of blueberries from the rejected place of production may resume in the next growing season if an investigation is conducted and APHIS and the NPPO of
--This is a summary of a
CFR Part: "7 CFR Part 319"
RIN Number: "RIN 0579-AD81"
Citation: "79 FR 44117"
Document Number: "Docket No. APHIS-2013-0016"
Federal Register Page Number: "44117"
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