APHIS Proposes New Rule for Importation and Interstate Movement of Fruits and Vegetables
WASHINGTON, D.C. – APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has proposed a change to its procedures for setting fruit and vegetable import requirements.
With the proposed rule change, AHPIS would no longer have to go through a normal rulemaking process for changes to import requirements. The agency would instead be able to publish a notice in the Federal Register advising the public of the change, according to an Advance Customs press release.
This would allow APHIS to adapt and be more flexible to new information about pests. By using a notice-based process, the agency would be able to change import requirements in five months as opposed to the 18-month process the formal rulemaking process takes.
The change in this process would not, however, affect the science-base process in which risk associated with importation or interstate movement of a given fruit or vegetable is evaluated.
This proposed rule would also create a procedure for APHIS to order emergency import bans. If phytosanitary measures currently in place for a fruit or vegetable are found to be to be no longer sufficient to mitigate pest risk, the agency could prohibit or restrict importation by publishing a notice in the Federal Register that specifies the changes and the effective date for the changes.
The public still has an opportunity to comment on the proposed change. APHIS will consider all comments received on or before November 10, 2014.