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Proposed Rule

Availability of a Risk Analysis Evaluating the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Status of Surrey County, England

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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 a risk analysis has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concerning the foot-and-mouth disease status of Surrey County, England, and the related disease risks associated with importing ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine from Surrey County, England. This evaluation will be used as a basis for determining whether to relieve certain restrictions on the importation of those articles into the United States from Surrey County, England. 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 July 22, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this docket 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.

Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Chip Wells, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Regionalization Evaluation Services Import Staff, National Center for Import and Export, 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). Section 94.1 of the regulations lists regions of the world that are considered free of rinderpest and FMD. Section 94.11 lists regions of the world considered free of rinderpest and FMD but from which the importation of meat and other animal products into the United States is subject to additional restrictions because of those regions' proximity to or trading relationships with FMD-affected regions.

In an interim rule [1] effective and published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2008 (73 FR 5424-5426, Docket No. 2007-0124), we amended the regulations in § 94.1 to remove Surrey County, England, from the list of regions that are considered free of rinderpest and FMD. We also amended the regulations in § 94.11 to remove Surrey County, England, from the list of regions considered free of rinderpest and FMD but from which the importation of meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine into the United States is subject to additional restrictions. That action was necessary because, by September 30, 2007, a total of eight outbreaks of FMD in Surrey County, England, had been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Epidemiological investigations and risk assessments conducted by the United Kingdom linked the source of the outbreaks in Surrey County with a probably accidental release of the FMD virus from a laboratory and vaccine production facility in Pirbright. Intensive surveillance demonstrated that the virus never spread outside of Surrey County. The United Kingdom and the European Commission removed all restrictions in Great Britain on December 31, 2007.

Although we removed Surrey County, England, from the list of regions of the world considered free of rinderpest and FMD, and the list of regions considered free of rinderpest and FMD but from which the importation of meat and other animal products into the United States is subject to additional restrictions, we recognized that the United Kingdom immediately responded to the detection of the disease by imposing restrictions on the movement of ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine within and from England and initiating measures to eradicate the disease. We stated that, because of the United Kingdom's efforts to ensure that FMD does not spread beyond its borders, we intended to reassess the situation in accordance with the standards of the OIE at a future date, and that as part of the reassessment process, we would consider all comments received during the comment period on the interim rule.

In this notice, we are announcing the availability for review and comment of a document titled “APHIS Risk Analysis on Importation of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Virus from Surrey County, England, in the United Kingdom.” This evaluation examines the events that occurred during and after the outbreaks and assesses the risk associated with the resumption of importation of ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine from Surrey County, England. This risk analysis will serve as a basis for our determination whether to continue to prohibit the importation of ruminants and swine and the fresh meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine from Surrey County, England. We are making the risk analysis available for public comment for 60 days.

The risk analysis may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may request paper copies of the risk analysis by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the analysis when requesting copies.

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 19th day of May 2008.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Footnotes

[FR Doc. E8-11659 Filed 5-22-08; 8:45 am]

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