[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 142 (Wednesday, July 24, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35515-35517]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-15704]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2015-0053]

Notification of Decision To Authorize the Importation of Fresh 
Raspberry Fruit From Morocco Into the Continental United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rulemaking action; notification of decision to import.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our decision to authorize the 
importation into the continental United States of fresh raspberry fruit 
from Morocco. Based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, which we 
made available to the public for review and comment, we have determined 
that the application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures 
will be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or 
disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the importation of 
raspberries from Morocco.

DATES: The articles covered by this notification may be authorized for 
importation after July 24, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Claudia Ferguson, M.S., Senior 
Regulatory Policy Coordinator, Regulatory Policy and Coordination, PPQ, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the regulations in ``Subpart L--Fruits 
and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-12, referred to below 
as the regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and vegetables 
into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent plant 
pests from being introduced into or disseminated within the United 
    Section 319.56-4 of the regulations contains a performance-based 
process for approving the importation of commodities that, based on the 
findings of a pest risk analysis (PRA), can be safely imported subject 
to one or more of the designated phytosanitary measures listed in 
paragraph (b) of that section. Under that process, APHIS publishes a 
notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the PRA 
that evaluates the risks associated with the importation of a 
particular fruit or vegetable. Following the close of the 60-day 
comment period, APHIS may begin issuing permits for importation of the 
fruit or vegetable subject to the identified designated measures if: 
(1) No comments were received on the PRA; (2) the comments on the PRA 
revealed that no changes to the PRA were necessary; or (3) changes to 
the PRA were made in response to public comments, but the changes did 
not affect the overall conclusions of the analysis and the 
Administrator's determination of risk.
    On August 26, 2016, we published in the Federal Register (81 FR 
58867-58869, Docket No. APHIS-2015-0053) a proposal\1\ to amend the 
regulations to allow the importation of fresh raspberry fruit from 
Morocco into the continental United States.

    \1\ To view the proposed rule, supporting documents, and the 
comments we received, go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2015-0053.

    We solicited comments on the proposed rule for 60 days ending on 
October 25, 2016. We received six comments by that date, from members 
of the public and from a State agriculture agency. Two commenters 
supported the proposed rule. A third commenter generally opposed 
importing fresh raspberry fruit and all other commodities, but did not 
offer any comments on the specific provisions of the proposed rule. The 
remaining comments are discussed below.
    One commenter requested that shipments of fresh raspberry fruit 
from Morocco not be allowed into the State of Florida due to the 
``high'' risk rating assigned to the fungus Monilinia fructigena in the 
PRA. The commenter acknowledged that while raspberry fruit is not 
considered a major host of this fungus, apples, peaches, plums, and 
apricots are, and if M. fructigena were to follow the pathway of 
importation into the United States, it could have devastating effects 
on Florida's agricultural industry, especially on commercial peach 
production and on the native plums that serve as a major food source 
for wildlife in that State.
    As stated in the risk management document (RMD) that accompanied 

[[Page 35516]]

proposed rule, M. fructigena is a common cause of fruit rot in fruit 
orchards. Required field inspections, packinghouse inspections, and 
port of entry inspections provide sufficient mitigation and have been 
used successfully to mitigate M. fructigena associated with fresh pears 
from China. In addition, culling at the packinghouses, while not 
required in the systems approach, is a standard industry practice that 
removes obviously blemished, diseased, and insect-infested fruits from 
the pathway. Infected or infested fruit found by an inspector will not 
be allowed to enter into the United States. Furthermore, if a pest or 
disease is found at the port of entry, a traceback will be conducted by 
APHIS and the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Morocco 
to identify the source of the problem. Corrective action, including 
removal of the packinghouse or place of production from the export 
program can then be taken.
    One commenter requested that we consider requiring the use of 
irradiation on fresh raspberry fruit from Morocco to mitigate the risks 
associated with M. fructigena.
    Irradiation is an approved treatment to mitigate the risks 
presented by arthropod plant pests, but is not approved as a treatment 
against fungi, like M. fructigena.
    One commenter asked about the costs associated with inspections and 
whether these inspections would increase the burden on port of entry 
inspectors and cause delays.
    The cost of inspection at the port of entry is covered by the 
agricultural quarantine and inspection user fee and, for inspections 
conducted outside regular business hours at the request of the 
importer/owner of the consignment, a reimbursable overtime charge. As 
discussed in the economic analysis that accompanied the proposed rule, 
Morocco expects to export between 200 and 500 metric tons of fresh 
raspberry fruit to the continental United States annually. This is a 
relatively small amount (about 0.4 to 0.9 percent of U.S. fresh 
raspberry fruit production) and we do not therefore anticipate an 
increase in burden to inspectors, nor do we believe that this action 
will cause delays at the ports.
    One commenter asked how inspectors will be trained to identify M. 
fructigena on fresh raspberry fruit from Morocco.
    Inspectors in Morocco and the United States are already well 
trained in identifying signs and symptoms of pests and diseases, 
including M. fructigena. The fresh raspberry fruit will be inspected 
for symptoms of fungal infections such as brown lesions and tufts 
sprouting from the skin of infected fruit.
    One commenter asked if fruits or vegetables have been inspected and 
certified free of pests or diseases in their country of origin only to 
be found infested or infected upon arrival in the United States.
    Commodities are inspected in their country of origin and again upon 
arrival at the port of entry in the United States. If a consignment is 
found to contain plant pests at the port of entry, the consignment may 
be treated, destroyed, or re-exported.
    One commenter expressed concern about the monitoring and 
enforcement of the systems approach. Specifically, the commenter asked 
how APHIS intends to monitor the NPPO of Morocco to ensure the 
conditions of the systems approach are being met.
    APHIS reserves the right to conduct site visits to Morocco to 
inspect places of production in Morocco and audit the program if pest 
problems occur.
    Finally, we note that the proposed rule was issued prior to the 
October 15, 2018, effective date of a final rule \2\ that revised the 
regulations in Sec.  [thinsp]319.56-4 by broadening an existing 
performance standard to provide for approval of all new fruits and 
vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based 
process. That final rule also specified that region- or commodity-
specific phytosanitary requirements for fruits and vegetables would no 
longer be found in the regulations, but instead in APHIS' Fruits and 
Vegetables Import Requirements database (FAVIR). With those changes to 
the regulations, we cannot issue the final regulations as contemplated 
in our August 2016 proposed rule and are therefore discontinuing that 
rulemaking without a final rule. Instead, it is necessary for us to 
finalize this action through the issuance of a notification.

    \2\ To view the final rule, go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2010-0082.

    Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in Sec.  
[thinsp]319.56-4(c)(3)(iii), we are announcing our decision to 
authorize the importation into the continental United States of fresh 
raspberry fruit from Morocco subject to the following phytosanitary 
measures, which will be listed in FAVIR, available at https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/manual:
     The NPPO of Morocco must develop an operational workplan, 
subject to APHIS approval, that details the activities that the NPPO of 
Morocco would carry out to comply with the phytosanitary requirements.
     The fresh raspberry fruit may be imported in commercial 
consignments only.
     The fresh raspberry fruit must be grown at a place of 
production that is registered with the NPPO of Morocco.
     During the growing season, raspberries must be inspected 
in the field by the NPPO of Morocco for signs of M. fructigena 
infection no more than 30 days prior to harvest. If the fungal disease 
is detected, the NPPO of Morocco must notify APHIS. APHIS will prohibit 
the importation of fresh raspberry fruit from Morocco into the 
continental United States from the place of production for the 
remainder of the growing season. The exportation of fresh raspberry 
fruit from the rejected place of production may resume in the next 
growing season if an investigation is conducted and APHIS and the NPPO 
of Morocco agree that appropriate remedial actions have been taken.
     The fresh raspberry fruit must be packed in packinghouses 
that are registered with the NPPO of Morocco.
     Detection of M. fructigena infection at a packinghouse may 
result in the suspension of the packinghouse until an investigation is 
conducted and APHIS and the NPPO of Morocco agree to appropriate 
remedial measures.
     Each consignment of fresh raspberry fruit must be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of 
Morocco with an additional declaration stating that consignment was 
produced in accordance with the requirements authorized under 7 CFR 
319.56-4, and that the consignment has been inspected prior to export 
from Morocco and found free of M. fructigena.
    In addition to these specific measures, fresh raspberry fruit from 
Morocco will be subject to the general requirements listed in Sec.  
[thinsp]319.56-3 that are applicable to the importation of all fruits 
and vegetables.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), the reporting and recordkeeping requirements included in 
this notification are covered under the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) control number 0579-0049. The estimated annual burden on 
respondents is 119 hours, which will be added to 0579-0049 in the next 
quarterly update.

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 

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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 notification, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' 
Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.
    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), 
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this rule 
as not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1633, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 
136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 19th day of July 2019.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-15704 Filed 7-23-19; 8:45 am]