Further Delays in Easing Restrictions on Meat Imports from Argentina
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has withdrawn a 2007 proposed rule that would have added that portion of the Patagonia region of Argentina located south of latitude 42° south (Patagonia South) to the list of regions considered free of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease. This change would have eased restrictions on imports of live ruminants and swine, and products from these animals, from this region.
However, APHIS is still moving in the direction of lifting those restrictions, which was first sought by Argentina in 2003. In accordance with a newer process for recognizing the animal health status of regions, APHIS has determined that the Patagonia region of Argentina (consisting of the areas of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B (the region immediately north of latitude 42° south)) is free of FMD and that the surveillance, prevention and control measures implemented by Argentina in this region are sufficient to minimize the likelihood of introducing FMD into the U.S. via imports of FMD-susceptible species or products. APHIS has also assessed the rinderpest status of all of South America and has determined that rinderpest is not present in the entirety of Argentina. Comments on APHIS’ evaluations and determinations are being accepted through March 24.