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National Poultry Improvement Plan and Auxiliary Provisions

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the National Poultry Improvement Plan (the Plan) and its auxiliary provisions by providing new or modified sampling and testing procedures for Plan participants and participating flocks. These changes were voted on and approved by the voting delegates at the Plan's 2002 National Plan Conference and will keep the provisions of the Plan current with changes in the poultry industry and provide for the use of new sampling and testing procedures.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

December 15, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Andrew R. Rhorer, Senior Coordinator, Poultry Improvement Staff, National Poultry Improvement Plan, Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, 1498 Klondike Road, Suite 200, Conyers, GA 30094-5104; (770) 922-3496.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP, also referred to below as “the Plan”) is a cooperative Federal-State-industry mechanism for controlling certain poultry diseases. The Plan consists of a variety of programs intended to prevent and control egg-transmitted, hatchery-disseminated poultry diseases. Participation in all Plan programs is voluntary, but flocks, hatcheries, and dealers must first qualify as “U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid Clean” as a condition for participating in the other Plan programs. The regulations in 9 CFR parts 145 and 147 (referred to below as the regulations) contain the provisions of the Plan. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) amends these provisions from time to time to incorporate new scientific information and technologies within the Plan.

On May 23, 2003, we published in the Federal Register (68 FR 28169-28175, Docket No. 03-017-1) a proposal to amend the Plan by providing new or modified sampling and testing procedures, removing the requirements for the minimum weight of hatching eggs, changing the restrictions on animal protein used in mash and pellet feed, adding a reinstatement procedure to the U.S. S. Enteritidis Clean program, and adding new U.S. Avian Influenza Clean programs for turkey breeding flocks and products and waterfowl, exhibition poultry, and game breeding flocks and products.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending July 22, 2003. We received one comment by that date, from a private citizen. This commenter raised several issues related to the proposed rule. These issues are discussed below.

The commenter objected to the fact that the changes we proposed to make to the Plan were developed by Federal and State animal health officials and industry representatives working cooperatively. The commenter stated that other groups with an interest in Start Printed Page 64508commercial poultry production, particularly animal protection groups, should have been invited to observe and contribute to the development of the Plan. Without adequate oversight from other groups, this commenter asserted, decisions could be made that would have a deleterious effect on poultry health and welfare.

On May 2, 2002, we published in the Federal Register (67 FR 22038-22039, Docket No. 02-039-1) a notice of the meetings of the General Conference Committee of the Plan, which was held on May 30, 2002, and the 2002 National Plan Conference, which was held on May 31 and June 1, 2002. The notice indicated that the meetings would be open to the public and listed the topics that would be addressed at these meetings. The decisions made at the meetings on how to address these topics became the basis of the proposed rule. Due to time constraints, the public was not allowed to participate in discussions during either of the meetings; however, the notice indicated that written statements on the meeting topics would be accepted either at the meetings or before or after the meetings. In addition, all interested parties had an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule during the 60-day comment period. We believe interested parties had adequate access to the deliberations of the General Conference Committee and the proceedings of the National Plan Conference and have had adequate opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.

The commenter objected to our proposed changes to the U.S. S. Enteritidis Clean and U.S. Salmonella Monitored programs for meat type chicken breeding flocks and products and the U.S. Sanitation Monitored program for turkey breeding flocks and products on the basis that animal protein should not be fed to chickens or turkeys. The commenter asserted that feeding animal protein to chickens and turkeys could spread illness to the chickens and turkeys or to other poultry.

The programs cited in the previous paragraph are intended to reduce the incidence of S. enteritidis and Salmonella in chickens and Salmonella in turkeys. These bacteria primarily pose a risk to human health, and as such are under the purview of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Plan's programs are voluntary and provide flockowners with guidelines to reduce or eliminate the incidence of these bacteria in their flocks. If it became necessary to restrict or prohibit feeding animal protein to poultry due to a risk of animal disease transmission, such feeding would be restricted or prohibited elsewhere in APHIS's regulations. We have no evidence indicating that chickens and turkeys that are fed animal protein that meets the guidelines of these programs are at risk for animal disease transmission, and the commenter did not provide any such evidence. We are making no changes in response to this comment.

The commenter asserted that laboratories that perform the tests provided for by the Plan should be tested to ensure that they are providing accurate, unbiased results. All laboratories that perform tests provided for by the Plan must be authorized laboratories. An authorized laboratory, as defined in § 145.1 of the regulations, is a laboratory designated by an Official State Agency and subject to review by APHIS. The APHIS review may include, but will not necessarily be limited to, checking records, laboratory protocol, check-test proficiency, periodic duplicate samples, and peer review. Only after this review is a laboratory authorized to perform the tests provided for by the Plan. We believe that such a review adequately addresses the commenter's concerns in this regard.

We proposed to add a reinstatement process to the U.S. S. Enteritidis Clean program. The commenter argued that flockowners who would seek to have their flocks reinstated under such a program should be required to pay for all testing themselves. The authorized laboratories that would perform such testing are operated by State, educational, or commercial entities, and it is beyond the scope of the regulations to require that these entities charge user fees for testing. We are making no changes in response to this comment.

However, we are making one change to the proposed rule that has been necessitated by a regulatory action taken since the proposed rule's publication. On June 20, 2003, we published in the Federal Register (68 FR 36898-36900, Docket No. 00-107-2) a final rule that, among other things, removed the regulations governing Salmonella enteritidis serotype enteritidis in 9 CFR part 82, subpart C (§§ 82.30 through 82.38). In the proposed rule, we had proposed to update a reference to the U.S. Salmonella Monitored program in § 82.34 by replacing it with a reference to the U.S. Salmonella Clean program to reflect a previous change in the name of that program. Since § 82.34 has been removed, it is not necessary to include that proposed change in this final rule.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the change discussed in this document.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. The 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.

The objective of the NPIP is to provide a cooperative Federal-State-industry program through which new technology can be effectively applied to the improvement of poultry and poultry products throughout the country. The provisions of the Plan, developed jointly by industry members and State and Federal officials, establish standards for the evaluation of poultry breeding stock and hatchery products with respect to freedom from hatchery-disseminated diseases. Participation in the program is voluntary. Currently, the NPIP has active control programs for pullorum, fowl typhoid, avian mycoplasmas, Salmonella enteritidis, and avian influenza.

Periodically, the provisions of the Plan are amended to keep current with the development of the poultry industry and the utilization of new information as it becomes available, based on the recommendations of representatives of member States, hatcheries, dealers, flockowners, and breeders who take part in the Plan's National Plan Conference. Accordingly, this final rule changes some of the Plan's provisions to keep the provisions of the Plan current with changes in the poultry industry, establish new certification programs, modify current disease control practices, and provide for the use of new sampling and testing procedures. The changes were voted on and approved by the voting delegates at the Plan's 2002 National Plan Conference. The changes have been generated by industry representatives, Official State Agencies, or Federal representatives with the goal of reducing disease risk and increasing product marketability.

The United States is the world's largest producer and exporter of poultry meat and the second-largest egg producer. In 2001, U.S. producers held a total of 441.1 million chickens, excluding commercial broilers, whose estimated value was $1.068 billion. Broiler production, which primarily comes from chickens raised under contract with a broiler processor, totaled 8.262 billion broilers with a combined live weight of 41.5 billion pounds. The value of broiler production for that year was $13.9 billion. The United States is also the world's largest turkey producer. Start Printed Page 64509In 2001, turkey production totaled 269 million birds with a combined live weight of 6.98 billion pounds and value of $2.8 billion. Finally, in 2000, the United States produced approximately 84.4 billion eggs worth an estimated $4.3 billion.[1]

The U.S. poultry industry plays a significant role in international trade. In fact, the United States is the world's largest exporter of both broilers and turkey products. In 2001, broiler exports totaled 5.5 billion pounds, valued at $1.8 billion. Turkey exports for the same year totaled 487 million pounds and were valued at $257 million. In addition, 191 million dozen eggs and egg products were exported in 2001.[2]

Participation in the Plan serves as a “seal of approval” for eggs and poultry producers in the sense that tests and procedures recommended by the Plan are considered optimal for the industry. As such, while participation in the Plan is voluntary, many foreign nations, such as Russia, do not accept poultry products unless they have originated from flocks participating in the Plan.[3] Consequently, participation in the Plan increases product marketability both domestically and internationally, which in turn increases the economic benefits received by the poultry industry from participation in the Plan.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies consider the economic impact of their regulations on small entities. Under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) used by the Small Business Administration, chicken egg operations are considered small entities if they have $10.5 million or less in annual receipts (NAICS code 112310). All other poultry products and meat operations are considered small entities if they have $750,000 or less in annual receipts (NAICS code 112320).[4] As this final rule only makes minor changes in a continuing program in an effort to better safeguard poultry health, the economic effects on poultry producers are not expected to be significant.

The last agricultural census estimated there were 63,246 domestic poultry and poultry products farms.[5] Unfortunately, the size distribution of these farms is not known. However, because most poultry production is carried out by small farms working under contract with larger processors or marketing firms, we can assume a fair amount of poultry production is carried out by small operations.

However, only those producers that voluntarily participate in the Plan will be affected. As is the case in the majority of voluntary control programs, individuals are likely to remain in the program as long as the costs of implementing the program are lower than the added benefits they receive from the program. In any event, the changes in this final rule will not have a significant economic effect on Plan participants.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12372

This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Parts 145 and 147

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Accordingly, we are amending

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PART 145—NATIONAL POULTRY IMPROVEMENT PLAN

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1. The authority citation for part 145 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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2. Section 145.10 is amended as follows:

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a. In paragraph (r), by removing the word “and” and adding a comma in its place and by adding the words “, and 145.53(e)” after the citation “145.33(l)”.

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b. By adding a new paragraph (t) to read as set forth below.

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Terminology and classification; flocks, products, and States.
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(t) U.S. H5/H7 Avian Influenza Clean. (See § 145.43(g).)

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3. Section 145.14 is amended as follows:

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a. By removing paragraph (a)(9).

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b. By redesignating paragraphs (a)(6) through (a)(8) as paragraphs (a)(7) through (a)(9), respectively.

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c. In newly redesignated paragraph (a)(7), in the first sentence, by removing the words “reactors are found in serum or blood from any flock, or”.

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d. By adding a new paragraph (a)(6) to read as set forth below.

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Blood testing.
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(a) * * *

(6) Poultry from flocks undergoing qualification testing for participation in the Plan that have a positive reaction to an official blood test named in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall be evaluated for pullorum-typhoid as follows:

(i) Serum samples that react on rapid serum test or enzyme-labeled immunosorbent assay test (ELISA), or blood from birds that react on the stained antigen, rapid whole-blood test for all birds except turkeys, shall be tested with either the standard tube agglutination test or the microagglutination test.

(ii) Reactors to the standard tube agglutination test (in dilutions of 1:50 or greater) or the microagglutination test (in dilutions of 1:40 or greater) shall be submitted to an authorized laboratory for bacteriological examination. If there are more than four reactors in a flock, a minimum of four reactors shall be submitted to the authorized laboratory; if the flock has four or fewer reactors, all of the reactors must be submitted. The approved procedure for bacteriological examination is set forth in § 147.11 of this chapter. When reactors are submitted to the authorized laboratory within 10 days of the date of reading an official blood test named in paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section, and the bacteriological examination fails to demonstrate pullorum-typhoid infection, the Official State Agency shall presume that the flock has no pullorum-typhoid reactors.

(iii) If a flock owner does not wish to submit reactors for bacteriological examination, then the reactors shall be isolated and retested within 30 days using an official blood test named in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. If this retest is positive, additional examination of the reactors and flock will be performed in accordance with paragraph (a)(6)(ii) of this section. During this 30-day period, the flock must be maintained under a security system, specified or approved by the Official State Agency, that will prevent physical contact with other birds and assure that personnel, equipment, and supplies that could be a source of pullorum-typhoid spread are sanitized.

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[Amended]
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4. In § 145.22, paragraphs (a) and (b) are removed and paragraphs (c) through (e) are redesignated as paragraphs (a) through (c), respectively.

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[Amended]
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5. In § 145.32, paragraph (a) is removed and paragraphs (b) through (d) are redesignated as paragraphs (a) through (c), respectively.

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6. Section 145.33 is amended as follows:

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a. By revising paragraphs (c)(4), (e)(4), (h)(1)(ii)(A), (h)(1)(ii)(B), (i)(1)(iii), (j)(1), and (k)(1) to read as set forth below.

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b. By adding a new paragraph (h)(6) to read as set forth below.

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Terminology and classification; flocks and products.
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(c) * * *

(4) Before male breeding birds may be added to a participating multiplier breeding flock, a sample of at least 30 birds to be added, with a minimum of 10 birds per pen, shall be tested for M. gallisepticum as provided in § 145.14(b), or by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based procedure approved by the Department. If fewer than 30 male breeding birds are being added, all the birds shall be tested as described above. The male birds shall be tested no more than 14 days prior to their intended introduction into the flock. If the serologic testing of the birds yields hemagglutination inhibition titers of 1:40 or higher as provided in § 145.14(b), or if the PCR testing is positive for M. gallisepticum, the male birds may not be added to the flock and must be either retested or destroyed.

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(e) * * *

(4) Before male breeding birds may be added to a participating multiplier breeding flock, a sample of at least 30 birds to be added, with a minimum of 10 birds per pen, shall be tested for M. synoviae as provided in § 145.14(b) or by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based procedure approved by the Department. If fewer than 30 male breeding birds are being added, all the birds shall be tested as described above. The male birds shall be tested no more Start Printed Page 64511than 14 days prior to their intended introduction into the flock. If the serologic testing of the birds yields hemagglutination inhibition titers of 1:40 or higher as provided in § 145.14(b), or if the PCR testing is positive for M. synoviae, the male birds may not be added to the flock and must be either retested or destroyed.

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(h) * * *

(1) * * *

(ii) * * *

(A) Pelletized feed must have a minimum moisture content of 14.5 percent and must have been heated throughout to a minimum temperature of 190 °F, or to a minimum temperature of 165 °F for at least 20 minutes, or to a minimum temperature of 184 °F under 70 lb pressure during the manufacturing process;

(B) Mash feed may contain animal protein if the finished feed is treated with a salmonella control product approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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(6) A pedigree, experimental, or great-grandparent flock that is removed from the U.S. S. Enteritidis Clean program may be reinstated whenever the following conditions are met:

(i) The owner attests that corrective measures have been implemented, which may include one or more of the following:

(A) Test and slaughter infected birds based on blood tests of every bird in the flock, with either pullorum antigen or by a federally licensed Salmonella enteritidis enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test when the flock is more than 4 months of age.

(B) Perform other corrective actions including, but not limited to, vaccination, medication, cleaning and disinfection of houses, rodent control, and movement of uninfected birds to premises that have been determined to be environmentally negative for S. enteritidis as described in § 147.12(a) of this chapter.

(C) One hundred percent of blood samples from the birds moved to the clean premises are tested negative for Salmonella pullorum and group D Salmonella. All birds with positive or inconclusive reactions, up to a maximum of 25 birds, shall be submitted to an authorized laboratory and examined for the presence of group D Salmonella, as described in § 147.11 of this chapter. Cultures from positive samples shall be serotyped.

(D) Two consecutive environmental drag swabs taken at the clean premises collected as specified in § 147.12(a) of this chapter 4 weeks apart are negative for S. enteritidis.

(E) Other corrective measures at the discretion of the Official State Agency.

(ii) Following reinstatement, a flock will remain eligible for this classification if the flock is tested in accordance with paragraph (h)(1)(v) of this section every 30 days and no positive samples are found and the flock meets the requirements set forth in § 145.33(h).

(i) * * *

(1) * * *

(iii) If feed contains animal protein, the protein products must have a minimum moisture content of 14.5 percent and must have been heated throughout to a minimum temperature of 190 °F or above, or to a minimum temperature of 165 °F for at least 20 minutes, or to a minimum temperature of 184 °F under 70 lb pressure during the manufacturing process;

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(j) * * * (1) A multiplier breeding flock in which all birds or a sample of at least 30 birds per house has been tested for M. gallisepticum as provided in § 145.14(b) when more than 4 months of age: Provided, That to retain this classification, a minimum of 30 birds per house shall be tested again at 36 to 38 weeks and at 48 to 50 weeks at a minimum: And provided further, That each 30-bird sample should come from 2 locations within the house (15 from the front half of the house and 15 from the back half of the house). A representative sample of males and females should be sampled. The samples shall be marked “male” or “female.”

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(k) * * * (1) A multiplier breeding flock in which all birds or a sample of at least 30 birds per house has been tested for M. synoviae as provided in § 145.14(b) when more than 4 months of age: Provided, That to retain this classification, a minimum of 30 birds per house shall be tested again at 36 to 38 weeks and at 48 to 50 weeks at a minimum: And provided further, That each 30-bird sample should come from 2 locations within the house (15 from the front half of the house and 15 from the back half of the house). A representative sample of males and females should be sampled. The samples shall be marked “male” or “female.”

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[Amended]
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7. In § 145.42, paragraph (b) is removed and paragraphs (c) and (d) are redesignated as paragraphs (b) and (c), respectively.

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8. Section 145.43 is amended as follows:

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a. By revising paragraph (f)(3) to read as set forth below.

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b. By adding a new paragraph (g) to read as set forth below.

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Terminology and classification; flocks and products.
* * * * *

(f) * * *

(3) Feed for turkeys in the candidate and breeding flock should meet the following requirements:

(i) All feed manufactured in pellet form must have a maximum moisture content of 13.5 percent upon delivery to the farm. It should have been preconditioned to the minimum of one of the following parameters before pelleting:

(A) Feed is to reach a minimum temperature of 185 °F for a minimum of 6 minutes of retention in the conditioning chamber. The conditioned mash feed moisture must be a minimum of 16 percent during the conditioning process. This method utilizes time retention to allow permeation to the center core of each feed particle; or

(B) The feed is to be pressurized in order to expedite the transfer of the heat and moisture to the core of each feed particle. The feed should be conditioned to the parameters of a minimum of 16 percent moisture and 200 °F; or

(C) The feed should be submitted to pressurization to the extent that the initial feed temperature rises to 235 °F for 4 seconds; or

(D) The feed should be submitted to an equivalent thermal lethality treatment; or

(E) A Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved product for Salmonella control should be added to the finished pellets.

(ii) Mash feed should be treated with an FDA-approved Salmonella control product.

(iii) All feed is to be stored and transported in such a manner as to prevent possible contamination with pathogenic bacteria.

(iv) FDA-approved products for Salmonella control may be added to either unfinished or finished feed.

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(g) U.S. H5/H7 Avian Influenza Clean. This program is intended to be the basis from which the turkey breeding industry may conduct a program for the prevention and control of the H5 and H7 subtypes of avian influenza. It is intended to determine the presence of the H5 and H7 subtypes of avian influenza in breeding turkeys through Start Printed Page 64512routine serological surveillance of each participating breeding flock. A flock, and the hatching eggs and poults produced from it, will qualify for this classification when the Official State Agency determines that it has met one of the following requirements:

(1) It is a primary breeding flock in which a minimum of 30 birds has been tested negative for antibodies to the H5 and H7 subtypes of avian influenza by the agar gel immunodiffusion test specified in § 147.9 of this chapter when more than 4 months of age. To retain this classification:

(i) A sample of at least 30 birds must be tested negative at intervals of 90 days; or

(ii) A sample of fewer than 30 birds may be tested, and found to be negative, at any one time if all pens are equally represented and a total of 30 birds are tested within each 90-day period.

(2) It is a multiplier breeding flock in which a minimum of 30 birds has been tested negative for antibodies to the H5 and H7 subtypes of avian influenza by the agar gel immunodiffusion test specified in § 147.9 of this chapter when more than 4 months of age. To retain this classification:

(i) A sample of at least 30 birds must be tested negative at intervals of 180 days; or

(ii) A sample of fewer than 30 birds may be tested, and found to be negative, at any one time if all pens are equally represented and a total of 30 birds are tested within each 180-day period.

(3) For both primary and multiplier breeding flocks, if a killed influenza vaccine against avian influenza subtypes other than H5 and H7 is used, then the hemagglutinin and the neuraminidase subtypes of the vaccine must be reported to the Official State Agency for laboratory and reporting purposes.

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9. In § 145.53, a new paragraph (e) is added to read as follows:

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Terminology and classification; flocks and products.
* * * * *

(e) U.S. Avian Influenza Clean. This program is intended to be the basis from which the breeding-hatchery industry may conduct a program for the prevention and control of avian influenza. It is intended to determine the presence of avian influenza in waterfowl, exhibition poultry, and game bird breeding flocks through routine serological surveillance of each participating breeding flock. A flock, and the hatching eggs and chicks produced from it, will qualify for this classification when the Official State Agency determines that it has met one of the following requirements:

(1) It is a primary breeding flock in which a minimum of 30 birds has been tested negative for antibodies to avian influenza by the agar gel immunodiffusion test specified in § 147.9 of this chapter when more than 4 months of age. To retain this classification:

(i) A sample of at least 30 birds must be tested negative at intervals of 90 days; or

(ii) A sample of fewer than 30 birds may be tested, and found to be negative, at any one time if all pens are equally represented and a total of 30 birds are tested within each 90-day period.

(2) It is a multiplier breeding flock in which a minimum of 30 birds has been tested negative for antibodies to avian influenza by the agar gel immunodiffusion test specified in § 147.9 of this chapter when more than 4 months of age. To retain this classification:

(i) A sample of at least 30 birds must be tested negative at intervals of 180 days; or

(ii) A sample of fewer than 30 birds may be tested, and found to be negative, at any one time if all pens are equally represented and a total of 30 unvaccinated sentinel birds are tested within each 180-day period.

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PART 147—AUXILIARY PROVISIONS ON NATIONAL POULTRY IMPROVEMENT PLAN

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10. The authority citation for part 147 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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11. Section 147.12 is amended as follows:

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a. In paragraph (b), introductory text, by adding the words “or the rapid detection method” after the word “procedures.”

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b. By adding a new paragraph (b)(3) to read as set forth below.

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Procedures for collection, isolation, and identification of Salmonella from environmental samples, cloacal swabs, chick box papers, and meconium samples.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(3) Approved rapid detection method. After selective enrichment, a rapid ruthenium-labeled Salmonella sandwich immunoassay may be used to determine the presence of Salmonella. Positive samples from the immunoassay are then inoculated to selective plates (such as BGN and XLT4). Incubate the plates at 37 °C for 20 to 24 hours. Inoculate three to five Salmonella-suspect colonies from the plates into triple sugar iron (TSI) and lysine iron agar (LIA) slants. Incubate the slants at 37 °C for 20 to 24 hours. Screen colonies by serological (i.e., serogroup) and biochemical (e.g., API) procedures as shown in illustration 2. As a supplement to screening three to five Salmonella-suspect colonies on TSI and LIA slants, a group D colony lift assay may be utilized to signal the presence of hard-to-detect group D Salmonella colonies on agar plates.

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Start Signature

Done in Washington, DC, this 7th day of November, 2003.

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Footnotes

1.  USDA, Agricultural Statistics 2002. Washington, DC: National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2002.

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2.  USDA, Poultry and Eggs: Trade. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, 2002.

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3.  USDA, Export Requirements for Russia. Washington, DC: Food Safety and Inspection Service, 2003.

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4.  Table of Size Standards based on NAICS 2002. Washington, DC: U.S. Small Business Administration, 2002.

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5.  USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture. Washington, DC: National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-28511 Filed 11-13-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P