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Notice

Availability of Evaluation Related to FMD Status of Great Britain

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice of availability and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are advising the public that an evaluation has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concerning the foot-and-mouth disease status of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man) and the related disease risks associated with importing animals and animal products into the United States from Great Britain. This evaluation will be used as a basis for determining whether to relieve certain prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of ruminants and swine and fresh (chilled or frozen) meat and other products of ruminants and swine into the United States from Great Britain. We are making this evaluation available to the public for review and comment.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before September 16, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by postal mail/commercial delivery or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/commercial delivery, please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket No. 01-018-2, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 01-018-2. If you use e-mail, address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in your message and “Docket No. 01-018-2” on the subject line.

You may read any comments that we receive on the evaluation in our reading room. The reading room 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) 690-2817 before coming.

APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, are available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Anne Goodman, Supervisory Staff Officer, Regionalization Evaluation Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4356.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the regulations) govern the importation of certain animals and animal products into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of various animal diseases, including rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). These are dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and swine. Section 94.1 of the regulations lists regions of the world that are considered free of rinderpest or free of both rinderpest and FMD. Rinderpest or FMD is considered to exist in all parts of the world not listed. Section 94.11 of the regulations lists regions of the world that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined to be free of rinderpest and FMD, but from which importation of meat and animal products into the United States is restricted because of the regions' proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected regions.

In an interim rule effective January 15, 2001, and published in the Federal Register on March 14, 2001 (66 FR 14825-14826, Docket No. 01-018-1), we amended the regulations by removing Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man) and Northern Ireland from the list of regions considered to be free of rinderpest and FMD. This action was necessary because FMD had been confirmed in both of those regions. The effect of the interim rule was to prohibit or restrict the importation of any ruminant or swine and any fresh (chilled or frozen) meat and other products of ruminants or swine into the United States from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Although we removed Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the list of regions considered to be free of rinderpest and FMD, we recognized that the appropriate authorities had responded to the detection of FMD by imposing restrictions on the movement of ruminants, swine, and ruminant and swine products from FMD-affected areas; by conducting heightened surveillance activities; and by initiating measures to eradicate the disease. We stated that we intended to reassess the situations in both regions at a future date in accordance with Office International des Epizooties (OIE) standards, and that as part of that reassessment process, we would consider all comments received regarding the interim rules.

Additionally, we stated that the future reassessments would enable us to determine whether it was necessary to continue to prohibit or restrict the importation of ruminants or swine and any fresh (chilled or frozen) meat and other products of ruminants or swine from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or whether we can restore Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the list of regions in which FMD is not known to exist, or regionalize portions of Great Britain or Northern Ireland as FMD-free.

On January 9, 2002, we published a final rule in the Federal Register (67 FR 1072-1074, Docket No. 01-031-3) in which we restored Northern Ireland (as well as the Netherlands) to the list of regions considered to be free of rinderpest and FMD and the list of regions subject to certain import restrictions on meat and animal products because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest-or FMD-affected regions. The action with respect to Northern Ireland and the Netherlands was based on the results of an evaluation that found each region Start Printed Page 46629met the standards of the OIE for being considered to be free of FMD.

In this notice, we are announcing the availability for review and comment of a document entitled “APHIS Evaluation of FMD Status of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man)” (May 2002). This evaluation assesses the FMD status of Great Britain and the related disease risks associated with importing animals and animal products into the United States from Great Britain. This evaluation will serve as a basis to determine whether to relieve certain prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of ruminants and swine and fresh (chilled or frozen) meat and other products of ruminants and swine into the United States from Great Britain. We are making the evaluation available for public comment for 60 days.

You may view the evaluation in our reading room (information on the location and hours of the reading room is provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this notice).

You may also request a copy by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the evaluation when requesting copies.

You may also view the evaluation on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda/​gov/​vs/​reg-request.html. At the bottom of that website page, click on “Information previously submitted by Regions requesting export approval and their supporting documentation.” At the next screen, click on the triangle beside “European Union/Animals and Animal Products/Foot-and-Mouth Disease,” then on the triangle beside “Response by APHIS.” A link will then appear for “APHIS Evaluation of FMD Status of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man), May 2002.” Following that link will allow you to view the evaluation.

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7711-7714, 7751, 7754, 8303, 8306, 8308, 8310, 8311, and 8315; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 4331 and 4332; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 10th day of July 2002 .

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-17795 Filed 7-15-02; 8:45 am]

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