[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 72 (Friday, April 16, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20037-20038]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-07747]

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. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 20037]]


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2016-0099]
RIN 0579-AE45

Importation of Fresh Avocado Fruit From Continental Ecuador Into 
the Continental United States; Reopening of Comment Period

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We are reopening the comment period for a proposed rule to 
allow the importation of commercial avocados from continental Ecuador 
into the continental United States after taking a new pest into 
consideration and including additional phytosanitary measures. We are 
also notifying the public of the availability of a revised pest risk 
assessment and revised risk management document associated with this 
notice. This action will allow interested persons additional time to 
prepare and submit comments.

DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published on June 15, 
2018 (83 FR 27918-27922) is reopened. We will consider all comments 
that we receive on or before May 17, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Enter APHIS-2016-0099 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-2016-0099, 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.

Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, 
PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 15, 2018, the Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published in the Federal Register (83 
FR 27918-27922, Docket No. APHIS-2016-0099) a proposed rule \1\ to 
authorize the importation of commercial fresh avocado from continental 
Ecuador into the continental United States.

    \1\ To view the proposed rule, supporting documents, and 
comments we received, please follow the directions above for the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal under ADDRESSES.

    The proposed rule was based on a pest risk assessment (PRA) that 
found four quarantine pests to be candidates for pest risk management. 
The quarantine pests were the fruit flies Anastrepha fraterculus 
(Wiedemann), Anastrepha serpentina (Wiedemann), Anastrepha striata 
(Schiner), and Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann). All avocado varieties 
except the Hass variety are hosts for these quarantine pests. 
Consequently, APHIS proposed to allow the importation of avocados from 
Ecuador into the United States under a systems approach that included 
phytosanitary measures to safeguard against these pests for all 
varieties of avocado except the Hass variety.
    During the public comment period, we received information from a 
commenter that led us to add the avocado seed pest Stenoma catenifer to 
a revised PRA. The revised PRA determined that Stenoma catenifer was a 
candidate for pest risk management for all varieties of avocado 
imported from continental Ecuador. In light of this change, we revised 
the risk management document (RMD) to include pest risk management 
measures for Stenoma catenifer for all avocado varieties. We are making 
the more recent version of the PRA available for public review and 
comment, as well as the revised version of the RMD that reflects this 
    Based on the findings of the revised PRA, we are proposing that 
commercial fresh avocado fruit may be imported into the continental 
United States from continental Ecuador subject to the conditions 
outlined in the June 2018 proposed rule, as well as additional 
conditions designed to safeguard against Stenoma catenifer. These 
additional conditions are:
     Avocados must be grown in pest free places of production 
for the avocado seed pest Stenoma catenifer that are established and 
maintained in accordance with international standards. APHIS must 
approve the survey protocol used by the National Plant Protection 
Organization (NPPO) of Ecuador to determine and maintain pest free 
     If the avocados are grown in a municipality free of 
Stenoma catenifer, the municipality must be surveyed every 6 months 
(twice a year) for the pest. Representative areas of the municipality 
where there are avocado trees, including production sites and urban 
areas, must be sampled.
     If the avocados are grown in a municipality not completely 
free of Stenoma catenifer, the NPPO of Ecuador can certify individual 
places of production as pest free. The surveys for pest free places of 
production must include representative areas from all parts of each 
registered place of production and a buffer zone of 1 kilometer. The 
places of production and buffer zone must be surveyed monthly for 
Stenoma catenifer from 2 months before harvest until harvest is 
     If one or more Stenoma catenifer are detected during a 
survey or during any other monitoring or inspection activity, the place 
of production will be prohibited from exporting avocados to the 
continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Ecuador jointly 
agree that the risk has been mitigated.
     The NPPO of Ecuador must keep records of Stenoma catenifer 
detections for each place of production, and update the records each 
time the places of production are surveyed. The records must be 
maintained for at least 1 year and provided for APHIS' review, if 
    These conditions are described in further detail in the revised 
RMD. The

[[Page 20038]]

NPPO of Ecuador would also have to enter into an operational work plan 
with APHIS that details the daily procedures the NPPO will take to meet 
these and all conditions.
    Comments on the proposed rule were required to be received on or 
before August 14, 2018. We are reopening the comment period on Docket 
No. APHIS-2016-0099 for an additional 30 days. This action will allow 
interested persons additional time to review the revised PRA and RMD, 
and prepare and submit comments.
    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 7 CFR 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 will be unable to issue the final regulations as 
contemplated in our June 2018 proposed rule. Instead, following this 
reopened comment period, if we finalize this action, it will be through 
the issuance of a notification.

    \2\ To view the final rule, please follow the directions above 
for the Federal eRulemaking Portal under ADDRESSES, and enter APHIS-
2010-0082 in the search field.

    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 12th day of April 2021.
Mark Davidson,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-07747 Filed 4-15-21; 8:45 am]