The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced its recognition of 20 municipalities in Brazil as pest-free areas for the South American cucurbit fly, a major pest of melons, under the agency’s streamlined process for approving pest-free areas.
In response to a request from the government of Brazil to recognise seven municipalities in the state of Ceará and 13 municipalities in the state of Rio Grande do Norte as free of the South American cucurbit fly, APHIS evaluated Brazil’s survey protocols and its system to establish, verify and maintain freedom from this pest.
Based on that information, APHIS has determined that those municipalities meet the criteria for recognition as pest-free areas under the approval process.
In July 2007, USDA implemented revised regulations pertaining to the importation of fruits and vegetables. Under these revisions, APHIS also established the framework of a notice-based process for approving pest-free areas in exporting countries.
This process allows the agency to be more responsive in recognising changes in the pest-free status of foreign areas. In the past, APHIS recognised changes in the pest-free status of countries via rulemaking.
Now, using the notice-based process, a notice announcing that an exporting country has provided information that meets or exceeds the pest-free criteria listed in the regulations and that APHIS officials have completed an evaluation of the request will be published in the Federal Register.
At the time the notice is published, APHIS will also provide copies of the available supporting information.