[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 40 (Wednesday, March 3, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 12293-12294]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03772]

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. 86, No. 40 / Wednesday, March 3, 2021 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 12293]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 149

[Docket No. APHIS-2020-0065]
RIN 0579-AE59

Elimination of the Voluntary Trichinae Certification Program

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We are proposing to eliminate the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS) Voluntary Trichinae Certification Program 
and remove the regulations associated with the program. This action 
would also notify the public that APHIS will no longer maintain any 
activity associated with the program, such as training for qualified 
accredited veterinarians, on-farm audits, or any other administrative 
process associated with program maintenance and support. We are 
proposing to eliminate the program because it generates little producer 
participation. This action would allow APHIS to direct APHIS resources 
to areas of greater need.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 
3, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Enter APHIS-2020-0065 in the Search field. Select the Documents tab, 
then select the Comment button in the list of documents.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2020-0065, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at regulations.gov or in our reading room, which is located 
in Room 1620 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) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Mar[iacute]a Celia Antognoli, 
Swine Health Senior Staff Officer, Aquaculture, Swine, Equine and 
Poultry Health Center, Strategy and Policy, VS, APHIS, 2150 Centre 
Ave., Bldg. B, Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117; (970) 494-7304; 
[email protected].



    Trichinella are parasitic nematodes (roundworms) that are found in 
many warm-blooded carnivores and omnivores, including swine. There are 
eight known species of Trichinella nematodes: Trichinella britovi, 
Trichinella murrelli, Trichinella nativa, Trichinella nelsoni, 
Trichinella papuae, Trichinella pseudospiralis, Trichinella spiralis, 
and Trichinella zimbabwensis. Trichinae is a generic term that refers 
to all species of Trichinella.
    In a final rule \1\ published in the Federal Register on October 
10, 2008 (73 FR 60463-60488; Docket No. APHIS-2006-0089), we 
established regulations for the Voluntary Trichinae Certification 
Program by adding 9 CFR part 149. These regulations provide for the 
certification of pork production sites that follow certain prescribed 
management practices that reduce, eliminate, or avoid the risk of 
exposure of swine to Trichinella spp. Participation in the program is 
voluntary. As stated in Sec.  149.2, a producer's initial enrollment 
and continued participation in the Trichinae Certification Program 
requires that the producer adhere to all of the good production 
practices set out in the regulations, as confirmed by periodic site 
audits, and comply with other recordkeeping and program requirements 
provided in part 149.

    \1\ To view the final rule and supporting documents, go to 

    Producer participation in this voluntary program has decreased 
since the program began. Only two producers re-enrolled in the past 3 
years. The lack of producer interest and involvement has become 
problematic for a number of reasons. Maintaining the program places 
demands on limited Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 
funding and human resources that could be better directed elsewhere. In 
addition, the existence of a program that producers have little 
interest in has had trade implications. Trading partners have 
questioned our ability to certify freedom of trichinae in exported 
products, given that the vast majority of the products are not produced 
under the auspices of the Trichinae Certification Program.
    We are therefore proposing to eliminate the program by removing 
part 149 from the regulations. Eliminating this program should benefit 
the swine industry by reducing possible confusion about the trichinae-
free status of exported products. APHIS would also no longer incur the 
costs associated with program administration and payments to auditors.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed 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 the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 
the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. The 
analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available 
by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
or on the Regulations.gov website (see ADDRESSES above for instructions 
for accessing Regulations.gov).
    APHIS is proposing to eliminate the Voluntary Trichinae 
Certification Program and remove its associated regulations from title 
9 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
    Producer participation in the Voluntary Trichinae Certification 
program has decreased significantly since this voluntary program began 
in 2007. Only two producers with 23 audit sites re-enrolled in the past 
3 years. Continuation of the voluntary program, given the lack of 
producer participation, is difficult to justify. Furthermore, a 
voluntary certification program that does not attract producer 
participation could negatively affect APHIS' and the pork industry's 
credibility, especially

[[Page 12294]]

during trade negotiations. Minimal program participation can lead 
trading partners to question APHIS' ability to certify exported 
products as trichinae-free, even though certification is not a 
requirement for U.S. pork exportation.
    Preserving APHIS' credibility is crucial in supporting the U.S. 
pork industry and its exports, which have increased substantially in 
recent years. Since 2007, U.S. pork exports have more than doubled in 
value (110 percent increase) and in quantity (109 percent increase).
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) small business size 
standard for hog and pig farming is annual revenue of not more than $1 
million. According to the 2017 Agricultural Census, 64,871 hog and pig 
farms sold over 235 million hogs and pigs with total sales of $26.3 
billion in 2017. Average annual sales per farm was 3,267 head valued at 
$404,907, well below the SBA small-entity standard.
    When the census data are divided into two categories--the largest 
producers, with 5,000 or more hogs and pigs sold, and the remaining 
farms--the prevalence of small-scale producers becomes clear. Farms 
with fewer than 5,000 hogs and pigs sold accounted for 57,084 farms (88 
percent of the total). However, the number and value of hogs and pigs 
sold by these farms, 15,157,702 head valued at $2.4 billion, represent 
only 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of total sales. The average 
number and value of hogs and pigs sold per farm in 2017 by these 
smaller farms was 266 head valued at $42,078. Clearly, hog and pig 
farms are predominantly small.
    Because the Voluntary Trichinae Certification Program did not 
progress beyond the pilot stage, the participating producers have not 
borne program costs.
    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 

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 2 CFR chapter IV.)

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) State and 
local laws and regulations will not 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 new information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and will reduce those currently approved by 
the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0323.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 149

    Animal diseases, Laboratories, Meat and meat products, Meat 
inspection, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Swine.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, and under the 
authority of 7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq., the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service is proposing to amend 9 CFR chapter I by removing 
part 149.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 18th day of February, 2021.
Michael Watson,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-03772 Filed 3-2-21; 8:45 am]