USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service changing sampling, inspection methods at imported plant inspection stations to ensure plant pests, diseases don't enter U.S.

Andrew Rogers

Andrew Rogers

Oct 21, 2011 – USDA Animal Health and Plant Health Inspection Sevice (APHIS)

WASHINGTON , October 21, 2011 (press release) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is implementing changes to its sampling and inspection approach at plant inspection stations for imported plants for planting. This action strengthens our ability to ensure that harmful plant pests and diseases do not enter the United States.

APHIS will evaluate and assign ratings based upon the risk associated with taxa of plants for planting and the countries from which they are exported. All taxa of plants for planting will be considered high risk until APHIS can gather sufficient data to establish that specific taxa present a medium or low risk. If a taxon falls under the medium or low risk categories, it will be sampled at a less intensive rate than high-risk plants for planting. APHIS will periodically update the categories in response to data collected from all inspections.

For taxa of plants for planting that APHIS has determined pose an extremely low risk, APHIS is establishing a propagative monitoring and release program (PMRP). Under the PMRP, consignments of these taxa will be periodically monitored, but not every consignment will be inspected. Consignments that are inspected will be inspected at normal sampling levels to confirm the taxon’s continued eligibility for PMRP.

In the past, APHIS inspectors have inspected a minimum of two percent of every consignment of plants for planting presented for inspection. This new approach standardizes inspection rates and allows APHIS to better allocate inspection resources towards target plants that are known to present a higher risk.

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