Importation of Fresh Pomegranate Fruit From Turkey Into the Continental United States, 28257-28262 [2017-12943]

Download as PDF 28257 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 118 Wednesday, June 21, 2017 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. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before August 21, 2017. DATES: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0091. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2013–0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at https:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0091 or in our reading room, which 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) 799–7039 before coming. ADDRESSES: 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS–2013–0091] RIN 0579–AD88 Importation of Fresh Pomegranate Fruit From Turkey Into the Continental United States Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of commercial consignments into the continental United States of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey. As a condition of entry, fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include grove registration, sanitation, and pest control measures; packinghouse registration and procedures designed to exclude quarantine pests; cold treatment; and procedures for packing, storing, and shipping the pomegranate fruit. In addition, consignments would have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant SUMMARY: protection organization of Turkey. This proposed rule would allow for the importation of fresh pomegranates from Turkey into the continental United States while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of plant pests. Mr. ´ Tony Roman, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737– 1231; (301) 851–2242. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The regulations in ‘‘Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables’’ (7 CFR 319.56–1 through 319.56–77, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests within the United States. Currently, the regulations do not authorize the importation into the continental United States of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a request from the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Turkey to amend the regulations to allow the importation of commercially produced pomegranate fruit (Punica granatum L.) from Turkey into the continental United States. In evaluating Turkey’s request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a risk management document (RMD). Copies of the PRA and the RMD may be obtained from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). The PRA, titled ‘‘Importation of Fresh Fruit of Pomegranate, Punica granatum L., from Turkey into the Continental United States’’ (February 2011, updated October 2015), analyzes the potential pest risk associated with the importation of fresh pomegranates into the continental United States from Turkey. In the PRA, we identified nine quarantine pests that could likely follow the pathway of fresh pomegranates from Turkey into the United States: LIST OF QUARANTINE PESTS Organism Taxonomy Arthropods .......... asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS Type Ceratitis capitata .......................................................... Cryptoblabes gnidiella ................................................. Nipaecoccus viridis ...................................................... Lobesia botrana ........................................................... Cacoecimorpha pronubana ......................................... Tenuipalpus granati ..................................................... Ceroplastes rusci ......................................................... Oxycarenus hyalinipennis ............................................ Cenopalpus pulcher ..................................................... Diptera: Tephritidae ..................................................... Lepidoptera: Pyralidae ................................................. Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae ........................................ Lepidoptera: Tortricidae ............................................... Lepidoptera: Tortricidae ............................................... Acari: Tenuipalpidae .................................................... Acari: Tenuipalpidae .................................................... Hemiptera: Lygaeidae ................................................. Hemiptera: Coccidae ................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1 Pest risk potential High. High. High. High. Medium. Medium. Medium. Medium. Medium. 28258 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS A quarantine pest is defined in § 319.56–2 of the regulations as a pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled. Plant pest risk potentials associated with the importation of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey into the continental United States were derived by estimating the consequences and likelihood of introduction of each quarantine pest into the United States and ranking the pest risk potential as being high, medium, or low. As indicated in the above table, four of the quarantine pests are considered to have high pest risk potential, and five, medium pest risk potential. Based on the findings of the PRA, APHIS has determined that measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection would mitigate the risks posed by these quarantine pests. These measures are listed in the RMD and are used as the basis for the requirements included in this proposed rule. Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations to allow the importation of commercial consignments of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey into the continental United States subject to a systems approach. Requirements of the systems approach, which would be added to the regulations as a new § 319.56–78, are discussed in the following sections. responsible for dealing with those issues. If the operational workplan is approved, APHIS would be directly involved with the NPPO of Turkey in monitoring and auditing the systems approach implementation. In addition, the NPPO of Turkey would be required to enter into a trust fund agreement with APHIS in accordance with § 319.56–6 to cover our monitoring and auditing costs. Proposed § 319.56–78(a)(2) would require that all places of production and packinghouses in Turkey participating in the program to export pomegranate fruit to the continental United States be registered with and approved by the NPPO of Turkey. Proposed § 319.56– 78(a)(3) would require that the places of production meet the requirements of paragraphs (d) and (e). Under proposed § 319.56–78(a)(4), the fruit would have to be packed for export to the continental United States in a packinghouse that meets the requirements of paragraph (g). Proposed § 319.56–78(a)(5) would require that the place of production where the pomegranates were grown remain identifiable for each consignment when the fruit leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. Proposed § 319.56– 78(a)(6) would require that the final release of the fruit into the continental United States be contingent upon compliance with required safeguards, treatments, and inspection included in the proposed section. General Requirements General requirements for importing fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey into the continental United States would be listed in proposed § 319.56– 78(a)(1). The NPPO of Turkey would be required to provide an operational workplan to APHIS detailing systems approach activities, including inspections, monitoring, and related tasks that the NPPO of Turkey will carry out to meet the proposed requirements. An operational workplan is an agreement between APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program, officials of the NPPO of a foreign government, and, when necessary, foreign commercial entities, that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will comply with our regulations governing the import or export of a specific commodity. Operational workplans apply only to the signatory parties and establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-today operations of specific import/export programs. Operational workplans also establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country and make clear who is Commercial Consignments Proposed § 319.56–78(b) would require that fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey be imported into the continental United States in commercial consignments only. Noncommercial shipments are more prone to infestations because the commodity is often ripe to overripe, could be of a variety with unknown susceptibility to pests, and is often grown with little or no pest control. Commercial consignments, as defined in § 319.56–2 of the regulations, are consignments that an inspector identifies as having been imported for sale and distribution. Such identification is based on a variety of indicators, including, but not limited to: Quantity of produce, type of packaging, identification of grower or packinghouse on the packaging, and documents consigning the fruits or vegetables to a wholesaler or retailer. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 Monitoring and Oversight Under proposed § 319.56–78(c)(1), the NPPO of Turkey would be responsible for verifying that registered grove and packinghouse mitigation practices are PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 fulfilling all requirements under the systems approach. Details of systems approach requirements for the places of production and packinghouses would be included in the operational workplan. APHIS may monitor and inspect the packinghouses and places of production. If APHIS or the NPPO of Turkey were to find that a place of production or a packinghouse was not in compliance with the regulations, pomegranates from that place of production or packinghouse would not be eligible for export to the United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey conducted an investigation and implemented appropriate remedial actions. Under proposed § 319.56–78(c)(2), any personnel hired to conduct inspections would have to be accredited and supervised by the NPPO of Turkey. Proposed § 319.56–78(c)(3) would require that the NPPO of Turkey retain all forms and documents related to export program activities in places of production and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, upon request, provide them to APHIS for review. Forms and documents would be specified in the operational workplan. Grove Sanitation and Pest Control Measures Under paragraph (d) of proposed § 319.56–78, the NPPO of Turkey would be responsible for ensuring that registered groves are practicing proper field sanitation, with places of production kept free of plant debris and fallen fruit. These sanitation measures are essential components of good agricultural practices and mainstays of commercial fruit production. In addition, the NPPO of Turkey would be required under proposed § 319.56–78(e)(1) to issue pest control guidelines to growers that will mitigate risks posed by the quarantine pests listed in the PRA. Details of control measure requirements, including treatment with fungicides, insecticides, and other requirements, would be included in the operational workplan. Although pomegranate fruit is not a primary host of L. botrana, we would require in proposed § 319.56–78(e)(2) that effective chemical control measures be used against infestations of this pest, as its larvae can feed and develop undetected within pomegranates. As noted above, detailed requirements for these measures would be included in the operational workplan. Post-Harvest Procedures Specific post-harvest requirements listed in paragraph (f) of proposed E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules § 319.56–78 and detailed in the operational workplan are intended to safeguard fruit after harvest. The pomegranates would have to be safeguarded by a pest-proof screen, plastic tarpaulin, or by some other pestproof barrier while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting packing. Fruits destined for the continental United States would have to be stored separately from fruit destined for other countries or the domestic market. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS Packinghouse Requirements Packinghouse requirements, listed in paragraph (g) of proposed § 319.56–78 and detailed in the operational workplan, are intended to prevent insect infestation of harvested fruit during processing and packing in registered packinghouses. Packinghouses in which pomegranates are packed for export to the continental United States would have to be able to exclude quarantine pests. During the time the packinghouse is used to pack and export pomegranates to the continental United States, the packinghouse would not be able to pack pomegranates destined for other countries or domestic markets. Pomegranates would have to be visually inspected at the packinghouse in order to cull damaged and deformed fruit. The fruit would have to be washed, brushed, disinfested, and submerged in surfactant prior to cold treatment. During the time that a packinghouse is packing pomegranates for export to the continental United States, the packing lines would have to be cleared of all other articles and plant debris. Fruits destined for the United States must be stored in a compartment separate from any other fruits or plant articles as long as they remain at the packinghouse. Boxes containing the packed pomegranate fruit would have to be marked with the identity of the packing facility and origin of the fruit and clearly marked as destined for export to the continental United States. Pomegranates would have to be packed within 24 hours of harvest into pestproof cartons or containers or covered with pest-proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin for transport to the continental United States. Fresh pomegranates for export to the continental United States would have to be held in a cold storage facility while awaiting export. If any fruit from unregistered production sites are stored in the same facility, the pomegranates would have to be stored in a separate compartment from that of other fruit. These safeguards would have to remain intact until arrival of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 28259 consignment in the continental United States. These packinghouse procedures, combined with proper grove sanitation as noted above, are effective at mitigating against several of the highand medium-risk quarantine pests listed in the PRA. Symptoms of infestation by C. gnidiella, which include silk webbing around the crown of the pomegranate and frass caused by boring larvae, are clearly visible upon inspection. N. viridis infestations discolor and disfigure the fruit, making damage caused by this pest easily visible during culling operations. Infestations of C. rusci leave a sticky substance on affected pomegranates that serves as a medium for sooty molds, which are apparent on affected fruit. C. pronubana is another plant pest that leaves clearly visible damage, making it easy to cull during packinghouse procedures and easily detected upon inspection by the NPPO. C. pulcher and T. granati are two surface pests of pomegranate. Submerging infested fruits in water with surfactant, followed by brushing and pressurized water spraying and inspection by the NPPO of Turkey, effectively mitigates these pests. O. hyalinipennis is a hitchhiker pest on pomegranate. Effective mitigation of this pest involves hand-picking and washing the pest from the fruit. Turkey by the NPPO of Turkey following post-harvest processing and prior to shipping. The sample would have to be visually inspected for the quarantine pests and a portion of the fruit would have to be cut open for additional inspection for internal pests. If any quarantine pests are found, the entire consignment of pomegranate fruit would be prohibited from importation into the continental United States. Details of inspection requirements would be included in the operational workplan. APHIS would inspect consignments of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey at the U.S. port of entry after the required cold treatment. Fruit presented for inspection would have to be identified in the shipping documents accompanying each consignment of fruit that specify the place of production in which the fruit was produced and the packinghouse in which the fruit was processed. This identification would have to be maintained with the consignment until the fruit is released for entry into the continental United States. Cold Treatment Under proposed § 319.56–78(h), all shipments of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey to the continental United States would have to undergo cold treatment 1 for C. capitata in accordance with the requirements for conducting phytosanitary treatment referenced in 7 CFR part 305. This treatment would be performed in Turkey, in transit, or at the port of first arrival in the United States. APHIS would monitor the treatment program and would prescribe any necessary safeguards for unloading, handling, and transporting the fruit in preparation for cold treatment. The final release of the fruit for entry into the continental United States would be conditioned upon compliance with the proposed safeguards and treatment. Executive Orders 12866 and 13771 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. Further, because this proposed rule is not significant, it does not trigger the requirements of Executive Order 13771. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding the economic effects of this proposed rule on small entities. Copies of the full analysis are available by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). APHIS is proposing to allow the importation of pomegranate from Turkey into the continental United States. Pomegranate fruit is not currently permitted to enter the United States from Turkey due to nine quarantine pests. This regulatory change proposes risk mitigation options, including the application of APHISapproved treatment and post-harvest Phytosanitary Inspection Under proposed § 319.56–78(i), a sample of pomegranate fruit jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey would have to be inspected in 1 Treatment schedules are listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, located on the Internet at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/ manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf. Cold treatment schedule T107–a is located in Chapter 5, Treatment Schedules. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Phytosanitary Certificate Under proposed § 319.56–78(j), each consignment of pomegranate fruit would have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Turkey. E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1 28260 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules procedures, which would make pomegranates from Turkey eligible for entry into the United States. The conditions under which APHIS is proposing to allow the importation of pomegranate from Turkey include: Only commercial shipments of pomegranates may be imported; all growers must be registered with the NPPO of Turkey; the pomegranates must undergo cold treatment in Turkey, in transit, or on first arrival in the United States; and prescribed practices for harvesting, packing, cleaning, and storage must be followed. Control measures in the field and packinghouse must be followed, which may include fungicide, insecticide, and disinfestation treatments. If 100 percent of Turkey’s exports at 2008 levels were diverted to the United States, this would have equaled about 6.5 percent of domestic production. If the other imports are assumed to be pomegranates and included as part of the total domestic market, then 100 percent of Turkey’s exports would equal about 9 percent of the market. It is very unlikely that Turkey would be willing or able to divert 100 percent of its exports to the U.S. market given its close proximity to its existing export markets, but in the event that it did, this quantity would still be unlikely to have a significant impact on the existing U.S. market. Based on our review of available information, APHIS does not expect the proposed rule to have a significant economic impact on small entities. We welcome the submission of comments and additional data regarding the potential economic effects of this proposed action. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS Executive Order 12988 This proposed rule would allow fresh pomegranates to be imported into the continental United States from Turkey, subject to a systems approach. If this proposed rule is adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding fresh pomegranates imported under this rule would be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh pomegranates are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming public and would remain in foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in other cases must be addressed on a case-bycase basis. If this proposed rule is adopted, no retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and this rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), reporting and recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Please send comments on the Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs via email to oira_submissions@ omb.eop.gov, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS–2013–0091. Please send a copy of your comments to the USDA using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of this document. APHIS is proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of fresh pomegranates from Turkey into the continental United States subject to a systems approach. As a condition of entry, pomegranates from Turkey would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration of production sites and packinghouses; grove sanitation and pest control practices; washing, brushing, and treatment with surface disinfectant; and inspection for quarantine pests by the NPPO of Turkey. Pomegranates from Turkey would also be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. This action would allow for the importation of pomegranates from Turkey into the United States while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine pests. Allowing fresh pomegranates to be imported into the continental United States from Turkey will require information collection activities, including phytosanitary certificates, production site and packinghouse registration, training, box marking, recordkeeping, an operational workplan, and a trust fund agreement. We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper performance of our agency’s functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection, including the PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.00206 hours per response. Respondents: NPPO of Turkey and pomegranate producers. Estimated annual number of respondents: 39. Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 96,104. Estimated annual number of responses: 3,748,079. Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 7,726 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.) A copy of the information collection may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (A link to 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.) Copies can also be obtained from Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851–2483. APHIS will respond to any ICR-related comments in the final rule. All comments will also become a matter of public record. E-Government Act Compliance The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and 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 proposed rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851– 2483. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319 Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables. E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 319 as follows: PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701–7772, and 7781–7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3. 2. Section 319.56–78 is added to read as follows: ■ asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS § 319.56–78 Turkey Fresh pomegranates from Fresh pomegranates (Punica granatum L.) may be imported into the continental United States from Turkey only under the conditions described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of the following quarantine pests: Cacoecimorpha pronubana, Cenopalpus pulcher, Ceratitis capitata, Ceroplastes rusci, Cryptoblabes gnidiella, Lobesia botrana, Nipaecoccus viridis, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis, and Tenuipalpus granati. (a) General requirements. (1) The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Turkey must provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the pest mitigations and other specific requirements that the NPPO of Turkey will, subject to APHIS’ approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this section. APHIS will be directly involved with the NPPO of Turkey in monitoring and auditing implementation of the systems approach. The NPPO of Turkey must also enter into a trust fund agreement with APHIS in accordance with § 319.56–6. (2) All places of production and packinghouses that participate in the export program must be approved by and registered with the NPPO of Turkey. (3) The fruit must be grown at places of production that meet the requirements of paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section. (4) The fruit must be packed for export to the continental United States in a packinghouse that meets the requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. (5) The place of production where the pomegranates were grown must remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. (6) Release of the fruit into the continental United States will be contingent upon compliance with the safeguarding, treatment, and inspection requirements of this section. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 (b) Commercial consignments. Pomegranates from Turkey may be imported to the continental United States in commercial consignments only. (c) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of Turkey must verify that the registered groves and packinghouses are complying with the requirements of this section. Details of systems approach requirements for the places of production and packinghouses are included in the operational workplan. APHIS may monitor the registered places of production and packinghouses. If APHIS or the NPPO of Turkey finds that a place of production or packinghouse is not complying with the requirements of this section, no pomegranates from the place of production or packinghouse will be eligible for export to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey conduct an investigation and implement appropriate remedial actions. (2) Any personnel conducting inspections must be accredited and supervised by the NPPO of Turkey. (3) The NPPO of Turkey must retain all forms and documents related to export program activities in places of production and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to APHIS for review. Forms and documents are specified in the operational workplan. (d) Grove sanitation. The NPPO of Turkey must ensure that registered groves are practicing proper field sanitation, with places of production kept free of plant debris and fallen fruit. Pomegranate fruit and plant debris that has fallen from the trees at each place of production must be removed and properly disposed of. (e) Pest control measures. (1) The NPPO of Turkey must issue pest control guidelines to growers that will mitigate risks posed by the quarantine pests listed in this section. Details of control measure requirements, including treatment with fungicides, insecticides, and other requirements, are included in the operational workplan. (2) The NPPO of Turkey must ensure that registered growers are using chemical control measures in the groves that effectively mitigate the risk of L. botrana. (f) Post-harvest procedures. The pomegranates must be safeguarded by a pest-proof screen, plastic tarpaulin, or by some other pest-proof barrier while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting packing. Fruits destined for the continental United States must be stored separately from fruit destined for other countries or the domestic market. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 28261 Details of post-harvest requirements are included in the operational workplan. (g) Packinghouse requirements. (1) Packing of pomegranates for export to the continental United States must be conducted within a packinghouse registered and approved by the NPPO of Turkey. Packinghouses in which pomegranates are packed for export to the continental United States must be able to exclude quarantine pests. During the time the packinghouse is used to pack and export pomegranates to the continental United States, the packinghouse must not pack pomegranates destined to other countries or domestic markets. (2) Pomegranates must be visually inspected at the packinghouse in order to cull damaged and deformed fruit. The fruit must be washed, brushed, disinfested, and submerged in surfactant prior to cold treatment. During the time that a packinghouse is packing pomegranates for export to the continental United States, the packing lines must be cleared of all other articles and plant debris and the pomegranates must be stored in a compartment separate from any other fruits or plant articles as long as they remain at the packinghouse. (3) Boxes containing the packed pomegranate fruit must be marked with the identity of the packing facility and origin of the fruit and clearly marked as destined for export to the continental United States. Pomegranates must be packed within 24 hours of harvest into pest-proof cartons or containers or covered with pest-proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin for transport to the continental United States. Fresh pomegranates for export to the continental United States must be held in a cold storage facility while awaiting export. If any fruit from unregistered production sites are stored in the same facility, the pomegranates must be stored in a separate compartment from that of other fruit. These safeguards must remain intact until arrival of the consignment in the continental United States. (h) Treatment for C. capitata. All pomegranate fruit for export from Turkey to the continental United States must be cold treated for C. capitata in accordance with the requirements for conducting phytosanitary treatment in part 305 of this chapter. The cold treatment may be performed in Turkey, in transit, or at the port of first arrival in the continental United States. (i) Phytosanitary inspection. (1) A sample of pomegranate fruit jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey must be inspected in Turkey by the NPPO of Turkey following post- E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1 28262 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules 7 CFR Part 319 tree tomatoes from Ecuador while continuing to protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before August 21, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0072. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2015–0072, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at https:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0072 or in our reading room, which 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) 799–7039 before coming. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Claudia Ferguson, M.S., Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, Imports, Regulations, and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737–1231; (301) 851–2352. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [Docket No. APHIS–2015–0072] Background RIN 0579–AE23 The regulations in ‘‘Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables’’ (7 CFR 319.56–1 through 319.56–77, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests that are new to or not widely distributed within the United States. The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Ecuador has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow tree tomatoes from Ecuador to be imported into the continental United States. In evaluating Ecuador’s request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a risk management document (RMD). Copies of the PRA and RMD may be obtained from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site (See harvest processing and prior to shipping. The sample must be visually inspected and a portion of the fruit must be cut open and inspected for quarantine pests. If any quarantine pests are found, the entire consignment of pomegranate fruit will be prohibited from importation into the continental United States. Details of inspection requirements are included in the operational workplan. (2) Fruit presented for inspection at a U.S. port of entry must be identified in the shipping documents accompanying each lot of fruit that specify the place of production in which the fruit was produced and the packinghouse in which the fruit was processed. This identification must be maintained until the fruit is released for entry into the continental United States. (j) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of pomegranate fruit must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Turkey. Done in Washington, DC, this 16th day of June 2017. Jere L. Dick, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2017–12943 Filed 6–20–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Importation of Tree Tomatoes From Ecuador Into the Continental United States Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We are proposing to amend the fruit and vegetable regulations to allow the importation of tree tomatoes from Ecuador into the continental United States. As a condition of entry, the tree tomatoes would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for importation in commercial consignments, registration and monitoring of places of production, field monitoring and pest-control practices, trapping, and inspection for quarantine pests by the national plant protection organization of Ecuador. This action would allow the importation of asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 Jun 20, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). The PRA, titled ‘‘Importation of fresh tree tomato (Solanum betaceum Cavanilles) from Ecuador into the continental United States’’ (September 2013), analyzes the potential pest risk associated with the importation of tree tomatoes into the continental United States from Ecuador. The PRA identified four pests of quarantine significance present in Ecuador that could be introduced into the continental United States through the importation of tree tomatoes. They are: Fruit Flies: • South American fruit fly (Anastrepha fraterculus) • Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) Moth: • Tomato fruit borer (Neoleucinodes elegantalis) Virus: • Tamarillo mosaic virus The PRA derives plant pest risk potential for these pests by estimating the likelihood of the introduction of each pest into the continental United States through the importation of tree tomatoes from Ecuador. The PRA considers two pests to have high pest risk potential (A. fraterculus and C. capitata), and two to have medium risk potential (N. elegantalis and Tamarillo mosaic virus). Based on the findings of the PRA, APHIS has determined that measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection are necessary to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of tree tomatoes from Ecuador into the continental United States. These measures are listed in the RMD and are used as the basis for the requirements of this proposed rule. Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations to allow the importation of commercial consignments of tree tomatoes from Ecuador into the continental United States, subject to a systems approach. Requirements of the systems approach, which would be added to the regulations as new § 319.56–78, are discussed in the following sections. Proposed Systems Approach General Requirements Proposed paragraph (a) of § 319.56–78 would set forth general requirements for the NPPO of Ecuador and for growers and packers producing the tree tomatoes for export to the continental United States. Paragraph (a)(1) would require the NPPO of Ecuador to provide an operational workplan to APHIS that E:\FR\FM\21JNP1.SGM 21JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 118 (Wednesday, June 21, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28257-28262]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-12943]


========================================================================
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. 82, No. 118 / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 28257]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0091]
RIN 0579-AD88


Importation of Fresh Pomegranate Fruit From Turkey Into the 
Continental United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables 
regulations to allow the importation of commercial consignments into 
the continental United States of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey. 
As a condition of entry, fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey would have 
to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include 
grove registration, sanitation, and pest control measures; packinghouse 
registration and procedures designed to exclude quarantine pests; cold 
treatment; and procedures for packing, storing, and shipping the 
pomegranate fruit. In addition, consignments would have to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant 
protection organization of Turkey. This proposed rule would allow for 
the importation of fresh pomegranates from Turkey into the continental 
United States while continuing to provide protection against the 
introduction of plant pests.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
August 21, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0091.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-
0091 or in our reading room, which 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) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Tony Rom[aacute]n, Senior 
Regulatory Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, 
PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 
851-2242.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56-
1 through 319.56-77, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or 
restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United 
States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and 
dissemination of plant pests within the United States.
    Currently, the regulations do not authorize the importation into 
the continental United States of fresh pomegranate fruit from Turkey. 
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a 
request from the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of 
Turkey to amend the regulations to allow the importation of 
commercially produced pomegranate fruit (Punica granatum L.) from 
Turkey into the continental United States. In evaluating Turkey's 
request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a risk management 
document (RMD). Copies of the PRA and the RMD may be obtained from the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the 
Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for 
accessing Regulations.gov).
    The PRA, titled ``Importation of Fresh Fruit of Pomegranate, Punica 
granatum L., from Turkey into the Continental United States'' (February 
2011, updated October 2015), analyzes the potential pest risk 
associated with the importation of fresh pomegranates into the 
continental United States from Turkey. In the PRA, we identified nine 
quarantine pests that could likely follow the pathway of fresh 
pomegranates from Turkey into the United States:

                                            List of Quarantine Pests
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Type                          Organism                 Taxonomy           Pest risk potential
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arthropods...........................  Ceratitis capitata.....  Diptera: Tephritidae...  High.
                                       Cryptoblabes gnidiella.  Lepidoptera: Pyralidae.  High.
                                       Nipaecoccus viridis....  Hemiptera:               High.
                                                                 Pseudococcidae.
                                       Lobesia botrana........  Lepidoptera:             High.
                                                                 Tortricidae.
                                       Cacoecimorpha pronubana  Lepidoptera:             Medium.
                                                                 Tortricidae.
                                       Tenuipalpus granati....  Acari: Tenuipalpidae...  Medium.
                                       Ceroplastes rusci......  Acari: Tenuipalpidae...  Medium.
                                       Oxycarenus               Hemiptera: Lygaeidae...  Medium.
                                        hyalinipennis.
                                       Cenopalpus pulcher.....  Hemiptera: Coccidae....  Medium.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 28258]]

    A quarantine pest is defined in Sec.  319.56-2 of the regulations 
as a pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered 
thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely 
distributed and being officially controlled.
    Plant pest risk potentials associated with the importation of fresh 
pomegranate fruit from Turkey into the continental United States were 
derived by estimating the consequences and likelihood of introduction 
of each quarantine pest into the United States and ranking the pest 
risk potential as being high, medium, or low. As indicated in the above 
table, four of the quarantine pests are considered to have high pest 
risk potential, and five, medium pest risk potential.
    Based on the findings of the PRA, APHIS has determined that 
measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection would mitigate the 
risks posed by these quarantine pests. These measures are listed in the 
RMD and are used as the basis for the requirements included in this 
proposed rule. Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations to 
allow the importation of commercial consignments of fresh pomegranate 
fruit from Turkey into the continental United States subject to a 
systems approach. Requirements of the systems approach, which would be 
added to the regulations as a new Sec.  319.56-78, are discussed in the 
following sections.

General Requirements

    General requirements for importing fresh pomegranate fruit from 
Turkey into the continental United States would be listed in proposed 
Sec.  319.56-78(a)(1). The NPPO of Turkey would be required to provide 
an operational workplan to APHIS detailing systems approach activities, 
including inspections, monitoring, and related tasks that the NPPO of 
Turkey will carry out to meet the proposed requirements. An operational 
workplan is an agreement between APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine 
(PPQ) program, officials of the NPPO of a foreign government, and, when 
necessary, foreign commercial entities, that specifies in detail the 
phytosanitary measures that will comply with our regulations governing 
the import or export of a specific commodity. Operational workplans 
apply only to the signatory parties and establish detailed procedures 
and guidance for the day-to-day operations of specific import/export 
programs. Operational workplans also establish how specific 
phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country and make 
clear who is responsible for dealing with those issues. If the 
operational workplan is approved, APHIS would be directly involved with 
the NPPO of Turkey in monitoring and auditing the systems approach 
implementation. In addition, the NPPO of Turkey would be required to 
enter into a trust fund agreement with APHIS in accordance with Sec.  
319.56-6 to cover our monitoring and auditing costs.
    Proposed Sec.  319.56-78(a)(2) would require that all places of 
production and packinghouses in Turkey participating in the program to 
export pomegranate fruit to the continental United States be registered 
with and approved by the NPPO of Turkey. Proposed Sec.  319.56-78(a)(3) 
would require that the places of production meet the requirements of 
paragraphs (d) and (e). Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(a)(4), the fruit 
would have to be packed for export to the continental United States in 
a packinghouse that meets the requirements of paragraph (g). Proposed 
Sec.  319.56-78(a)(5) would require that the place of production where 
the pomegranates were grown remain identifiable for each consignment 
when the fruit leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout 
the export process. Proposed Sec.  319.56-78(a)(6) would require that 
the final release of the fruit into the continental United States be 
contingent upon compliance with required safeguards, treatments, and 
inspection included in the proposed section.

Commercial Consignments

    Proposed Sec.  319.56-78(b) would require that fresh pomegranate 
fruit from Turkey be imported into the continental United States in 
commercial consignments only. Noncommercial shipments are more prone to 
infestations because the commodity is often ripe to overripe, could be 
of a variety with unknown susceptibility to pests, and is often grown 
with little or no pest control.
    Commercial consignments, as defined in Sec.  319.56-2 of the 
regulations, are consignments that an inspector identifies as having 
been imported for sale and distribution. Such identification is based 
on a variety of indicators, including, but not limited to: Quantity of 
produce, type of packaging, identification of grower or packinghouse on 
the packaging, and documents consigning the fruits or vegetables to a 
wholesaler or retailer.

Monitoring and Oversight

    Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(c)(1), the NPPO of Turkey would be 
responsible for verifying that registered grove and packinghouse 
mitigation practices are fulfilling all requirements under the systems 
approach. Details of systems approach requirements for the places of 
production and packinghouses would be included in the operational 
workplan.
    APHIS may monitor and inspect the packinghouses and places of 
production. If APHIS or the NPPO of Turkey were to find that a place of 
production or a packinghouse was not in compliance with the 
regulations, pomegranates from that place of production or packinghouse 
would not be eligible for export to the United States until APHIS and 
the NPPO of Turkey conducted an investigation and implemented 
appropriate remedial actions.
    Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(c)(2), any personnel hired to 
conduct inspections would have to be accredited and supervised by the 
NPPO of Turkey.
    Proposed Sec.  319.56-78(c)(3) would require that the NPPO of 
Turkey retain all forms and documents related to export program 
activities in places of production and packinghouses for at least 1 
year and, upon request, provide them to APHIS for review. Forms and 
documents would be specified in the operational workplan.

Grove Sanitation and Pest Control Measures

    Under paragraph (d) of proposed Sec.  319.56-78, the NPPO of Turkey 
would be responsible for ensuring that registered groves are practicing 
proper field sanitation, with places of production kept free of plant 
debris and fallen fruit. These sanitation measures are essential 
components of good agricultural practices and mainstays of commercial 
fruit production.
    In addition, the NPPO of Turkey would be required under proposed 
Sec.  319.56-78(e)(1) to issue pest control guidelines to growers that 
will mitigate risks posed by the quarantine pests listed in the PRA. 
Details of control measure requirements, including treatment with 
fungicides, insecticides, and other requirements, would be included in 
the operational workplan.
    Although pomegranate fruit is not a primary host of L. botrana, we 
would require in proposed Sec.  319.56-78(e)(2) that effective chemical 
control measures be used against infestations of this pest, as its 
larvae can feed and develop undetected within pomegranates. As noted 
above, detailed requirements for these measures would be included in 
the operational workplan.

Post-Harvest Procedures

    Specific post-harvest requirements listed in paragraph (f) of 
proposed

[[Page 28259]]

Sec.  319.56-78 and detailed in the operational workplan are intended 
to safeguard fruit after harvest. The pomegranates would have to be 
safeguarded by a pest-proof screen, plastic tarpaulin, or by some other 
pest-proof barrier while in transit to the packinghouse and while 
awaiting packing. Fruits destined for the continental United States 
would have to be stored separately from fruit destined for other 
countries or the domestic market.

Packinghouse Requirements

    Packinghouse requirements, listed in paragraph (g) of proposed 
Sec.  319.56-78 and detailed in the operational workplan, are intended 
to prevent insect infestation of harvested fruit during processing and 
packing in registered packinghouses. Packinghouses in which 
pomegranates are packed for export to the continental United States 
would have to be able to exclude quarantine pests. During the time the 
packinghouse is used to pack and export pomegranates to the continental 
United States, the packinghouse would not be able to pack pomegranates 
destined for other countries or domestic markets.
    Pomegranates would have to be visually inspected at the 
packinghouse in order to cull damaged and deformed fruit. The fruit 
would have to be washed, brushed, disinfested, and submerged in 
surfactant prior to cold treatment. During the time that a packinghouse 
is packing pomegranates for export to the continental United States, 
the packing lines would have to be cleared of all other articles and 
plant debris. Fruits destined for the United States must be stored in a 
compartment separate from any other fruits or plant articles as long as 
they remain at the packinghouse.
    Boxes containing the packed pomegranate fruit would have to be 
marked with the identity of the packing facility and origin of the 
fruit and clearly marked as destined for export to the continental 
United States. Pomegranates would have to be packed within 24 hours of 
harvest into pest-proof cartons or containers or covered with pest-
proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin for transport to the continental 
United States. Fresh pomegranates for export to the continental United 
States would have to be held in a cold storage facility while awaiting 
export. If any fruit from unregistered production sites are stored in 
the same facility, the pomegranates would have to be stored in a 
separate compartment from that of other fruit. These safeguards would 
have to remain intact until arrival of the consignment in the 
continental United States.
    These packinghouse procedures, combined with proper grove 
sanitation as noted above, are effective at mitigating against several 
of the high- and medium-risk quarantine pests listed in the PRA. 
Symptoms of infestation by C. gnidiella, which include silk webbing 
around the crown of the pomegranate and frass caused by boring larvae, 
are clearly visible upon inspection. N. viridis infestations discolor 
and disfigure the fruit, making damage caused by this pest easily 
visible during culling operations. Infestations of C. rusci leave a 
sticky substance on affected pomegranates that serves as a medium for 
sooty molds, which are apparent on affected fruit. C. pronubana is 
another plant pest that leaves clearly visible damage, making it easy 
to cull during packinghouse procedures and easily detected upon 
inspection by the NPPO.
    C. pulcher and T. granati are two surface pests of pomegranate. 
Submerging infested fruits in water with surfactant, followed by 
brushing and pressurized water spraying and inspection by the NPPO of 
Turkey, effectively mitigates these pests. O. hyalinipennis is a 
hitchhiker pest on pomegranate. Effective mitigation of this pest 
involves hand-picking and washing the pest from the fruit.

Cold Treatment

    Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(h), all shipments of fresh 
pomegranate fruit from Turkey to the continental United States would 
have to undergo cold treatment \1\ for C. capitata in accordance with 
the requirements for conducting phytosanitary treatment referenced in 7 
CFR part 305. This treatment would be performed in Turkey, in transit, 
or at the port of first arrival in the United States. APHIS would 
monitor the treatment program and would prescribe any necessary 
safeguards for unloading, handling, and transporting the fruit in 
preparation for cold treatment. The final release of the fruit for 
entry into the continental United States would be conditioned upon 
compliance with the proposed safeguards and treatment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Treatment schedules are listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, 
located on the Internet at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf. Cold treatment 
schedule T107-a is located in Chapter 5, Treatment Schedules.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phytosanitary Inspection

    Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(i), a sample of pomegranate fruit 
jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey would have to be 
inspected in Turkey by the NPPO of Turkey following post-harvest 
processing and prior to shipping. The sample would have to be visually 
inspected for the quarantine pests and a portion of the fruit would 
have to be cut open for additional inspection for internal pests. If 
any quarantine pests are found, the entire consignment of pomegranate 
fruit would be prohibited from importation into the continental United 
States. Details of inspection requirements would be included in the 
operational workplan.
    APHIS would inspect consignments of fresh pomegranate fruit from 
Turkey at the U.S. port of entry after the required cold treatment. 
Fruit presented for inspection would have to be identified in the 
shipping documents accompanying each consignment of fruit that specify 
the place of production in which the fruit was produced and the 
packinghouse in which the fruit was processed. This identification 
would have to be maintained with the consignment until the fruit is 
released for entry into the continental United States.

Phytosanitary Certificate

    Under proposed Sec.  319.56-78(j), each consignment of pomegranate 
fruit would have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate 
issued by the NPPO of Turkey.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13771 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. Further, because this 
proposed rule is not significant, it does not trigger the requirements 
of Executive Order 13771.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding 
the economic effects of this proposed rule on small entities. Copies of 
the full analysis are available by contacting the person listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see 
ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).
    APHIS is proposing to allow the importation of pomegranate from 
Turkey into the continental United States. Pomegranate fruit is not 
currently permitted to enter the United States from Turkey due to nine 
quarantine pests. This regulatory change proposes risk mitigation 
options, including the application of APHIS-approved treatment and 
post-harvest

[[Page 28260]]

procedures, which would make pomegranates from Turkey eligible for 
entry into the United States.
    The conditions under which APHIS is proposing to allow the 
importation of pomegranate from Turkey include: Only commercial 
shipments of pomegranates may be imported; all growers must be 
registered with the NPPO of Turkey; the pomegranates must undergo cold 
treatment in Turkey, in transit, or on first arrival in the United 
States; and prescribed practices for harvesting, packing, cleaning, and 
storage must be followed. Control measures in the field and 
packinghouse must be followed, which may include fungicide, 
insecticide, and disinfestation treatments.
    If 100 percent of Turkey's exports at 2008 levels were diverted to 
the United States, this would have equaled about 6.5 percent of 
domestic production. If the other imports are assumed to be 
pomegranates and included as part of the total domestic market, then 
100 percent of Turkey's exports would equal about 9 percent of the 
market. It is very unlikely that Turkey would be willing or able to 
divert 100 percent of its exports to the U.S. market given its close 
proximity to its existing export markets, but in the event that it did, 
this quantity would still be unlikely to have a significant impact on 
the existing U.S. market.
    Based on our review of available information, APHIS does not expect 
the proposed rule to have a significant economic impact on small 
entities. We welcome the submission of comments and additional data 
regarding the potential economic effects of this proposed action.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule would allow fresh pomegranates to be imported 
into the continental United States from Turkey, subject to a systems 
approach. If this proposed rule is adopted, State and local laws and 
regulations regarding fresh pomegranates imported under this rule would 
be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh pomegranates 
are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the 
consuming public and would remain in foreign commerce until sold to the 
ultimate consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in 
other cases must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If this proposed 
rule is adopted, no retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and 
this rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties 
may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements included in this proposed rule have been submitted for 
approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Please send 
comments on the Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB's Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs via email to 
oira_submissions@omb.eop.gov, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, 
Washington, DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket 
No. APHIS-2013-0091. Please send a copy of your comments to the USDA 
using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of 
this document.
    APHIS is proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations 
to allow the importation of fresh pomegranates from Turkey into the 
continental United States subject to a systems approach. As a condition 
of entry, pomegranates from Turkey would have to be produced in 
accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for 
importation in commercial consignments; registration of production 
sites and packinghouses; grove sanitation and pest control practices; 
washing, brushing, and treatment with surface disinfectant; and 
inspection for quarantine pests by the NPPO of Turkey.
    Pomegranates from Turkey would also be required to be accompanied 
by a phytosanitary certificate. This action would allow for the 
importation of pomegranates from Turkey into the United States while 
continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine 
pests.
    Allowing fresh pomegranates to be imported into the continental 
United States from Turkey will require information collection 
activities, including phytosanitary certificates, production site and 
packinghouse registration, training, box marking, recordkeeping, an 
operational workplan, and a trust fund agreement.
    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected 
agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who 
are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses).
    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 0.00206 hours per response.
    Respondents: NPPO of Turkey and pomegranate producers.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 39.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 96,104.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 3,748,079.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 7,726 hours. (Due to 
averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of 
the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per 
response.)
    A copy of the information collection may be viewed on the 
Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (A link to 
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.) Copies can also be obtained from Ms. Kimberly 
Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483. 
APHIS will respond to any ICR-related comments in the final rule. All 
comments will also become a matter of public record.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet 
and 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 proposed rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly 
Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rice, Vegetables.


[[Page 28261]]


    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 
136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

0
 2. Section 319.56-78 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-78  Fresh pomegranates from Turkey

    Fresh pomegranates (Punica granatum L.) may be imported into the 
continental United States from Turkey only under the conditions 
described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the 
introduction of the following quarantine pests: Cacoecimorpha 
pronubana, Cenopalpus pulcher, Ceratitis capitata, Ceroplastes rusci, 
Cryptoblabes gnidiella, Lobesia botrana, Nipaecoccus viridis, 
Oxycarenus hyalinipennis, and Tenuipalpus granati.
    (a) General requirements. (1) The national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) of Turkey must provide an operational workplan to 
APHIS that details the pest mitigations and other specific requirements 
that the NPPO of Turkey will, subject to APHIS' approval of the 
workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this section. APHIS 
will be directly involved with the NPPO of Turkey in monitoring and 
auditing implementation of the systems approach. The NPPO of Turkey 
must also enter into a trust fund agreement with APHIS in accordance 
with Sec.  319.56-6.
    (2) All places of production and packinghouses that participate in 
the export program must be approved by and registered with the NPPO of 
Turkey.
    (3) The fruit must be grown at places of production that meet the 
requirements of paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.
    (4) The fruit must be packed for export to the continental United 
States in a packinghouse that meets the requirements of paragraph (g) 
of this section.
    (5) The place of production where the pomegranates were grown must 
remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the grove, at the 
packinghouse, and throughout the export process.
    (6) Release of the fruit into the continental United States will be 
contingent upon compliance with the safeguarding, treatment, and 
inspection requirements of this section.
    (b) Commercial consignments. Pomegranates from Turkey may be 
imported to the continental United States in commercial consignments 
only.
    (c) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of Turkey must verify 
that the registered groves and packinghouses are complying with the 
requirements of this section. Details of systems approach requirements 
for the places of production and packinghouses are included in the 
operational workplan. APHIS may monitor the registered places of 
production and packinghouses. If APHIS or the NPPO of Turkey finds that 
a place of production or packinghouse is not complying with the 
requirements of this section, no pomegranates from the place of 
production or packinghouse will be eligible for export to the 
continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey conduct an 
investigation and implement appropriate remedial actions.
    (2) Any personnel conducting inspections must be accredited and 
supervised by the NPPO of Turkey.
    (3) The NPPO of Turkey must retain all forms and documents related 
to export program activities in places of production and packinghouses 
for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to APHIS for 
review. Forms and documents are specified in the operational workplan.
    (d) Grove sanitation. The NPPO of Turkey must ensure that 
registered groves are practicing proper field sanitation, with places 
of production kept free of plant debris and fallen fruit. Pomegranate 
fruit and plant debris that has fallen from the trees at each place of 
production must be removed and properly disposed of.
    (e) Pest control measures. (1) The NPPO of Turkey must issue pest 
control guidelines to growers that will mitigate risks posed by the 
quarantine pests listed in this section. Details of control measure 
requirements, including treatment with fungicides, insecticides, and 
other requirements, are included in the operational workplan.
    (2) The NPPO of Turkey must ensure that registered growers are 
using chemical control measures in the groves that effectively mitigate 
the risk of L. botrana.
    (f) Post-harvest procedures. The pomegranates must be safeguarded 
by a pest-proof screen, plastic tarpaulin, or by some other pest-proof 
barrier while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting 
packing. Fruits destined for the continental United States must be 
stored separately from fruit destined for other countries or the 
domestic market. Details of post-harvest requirements are included in 
the operational workplan.
    (g) Packinghouse requirements. (1) Packing of pomegranates for 
export to the continental United States must be conducted within a 
packinghouse registered and approved by the NPPO of Turkey. 
Packinghouses in which pomegranates are packed for export to the 
continental United States must be able to exclude quarantine pests. 
During the time the packinghouse is used to pack and export 
pomegranates to the continental United States, the packinghouse must 
not pack pomegranates destined to other countries or domestic markets.
    (2) Pomegranates must be visually inspected at the packinghouse in 
order to cull damaged and deformed fruit. The fruit must be washed, 
brushed, disinfested, and submerged in surfactant prior to cold 
treatment. During the time that a packinghouse is packing pomegranates 
for export to the continental United States, the packing lines must be 
cleared of all other articles and plant debris and the pomegranates 
must be stored in a compartment separate from any other fruits or plant 
articles as long as they remain at the packinghouse.
    (3) Boxes containing the packed pomegranate fruit must be marked 
with the identity of the packing facility and origin of the fruit and 
clearly marked as destined for export to the continental United States. 
Pomegranates must be packed within 24 hours of harvest into pest-proof 
cartons or containers or covered with pest-proof mesh or a plastic 
tarpaulin for transport to the continental United States. Fresh 
pomegranates for export to the continental United States must be held 
in a cold storage facility while awaiting export. If any fruit from 
unregistered production sites are stored in the same facility, the 
pomegranates must be stored in a separate compartment from that of 
other fruit. These safeguards must remain intact until arrival of the 
consignment in the continental United States.
    (h) Treatment for C. capitata. All pomegranate fruit for export 
from Turkey to the continental United States must be cold treated for 
C. capitata in accordance with the requirements for conducting 
phytosanitary treatment in part 305 of this chapter. The cold treatment 
may be performed in Turkey, in transit, or at the port of first arrival 
in the continental United States.
    (i) Phytosanitary inspection. (1) A sample of pomegranate fruit 
jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Turkey must be inspected 
in Turkey by the NPPO of Turkey following post-

[[Page 28262]]

harvest processing and prior to shipping. The sample must be visually 
inspected and a portion of the fruit must be cut open and inspected for 
quarantine pests. If any quarantine pests are found, the entire 
consignment of pomegranate fruit will be prohibited from importation 
into the continental United States. Details of inspection requirements 
are included in the operational workplan.
    (2) Fruit presented for inspection at a U.S. port of entry must be 
identified in the shipping documents accompanying each lot of fruit 
that specify the place of production in which the fruit was produced 
and the packinghouse in which the fruit was processed. This 
identification must be maintained until the fruit is released for entry 
into the continental United States.
    (j) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of pomegranate 
fruit must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the 
NPPO of Turkey.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 16th day of June 2017.
Jere L. Dick,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-12943 Filed 6-20-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-34-P