WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of litchi, longan, mango, mangosteen, pineapple and rambutan from Thailand into the United States.

To ensure that plant pests do not enter the United States through the importation of these commodities, APHIS would require that the fruit be grown in production areas registered with and monitored by the national plant protection organization of Thailand, treated with irradiation at specified doses and subjected to inspection.

The fruit would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the fruit was irradiated in Thailand. In the case of litchi, the declaration would also state that the fruit was inspected and found to be free of Peronophythora litchi, a fungal pest.

This action would allow for the importation of these six fruits from Thailand while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States.

Notice of this proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the July 26 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Sept. 25. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0040, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov and, in the "Search Regulations and Federal Actions" box, select "Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu; then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0040 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web siteand may also be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:40 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

SOURCE: USDA news release.