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Risk-Based Sampling of Imported Plants for Planting Expanded to More Facilities

Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced that as of Feb. 17 it will implement risk-based sampling of shipments of imported plants for planting at the plant inspection stations in Beltsville, Md., Orlando, Fla., Nogales, Ariz., and San Diego, Calif. Risk-based sampling was first implemented at plant inspection stations in New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Texas on Oct. 1, 2013. APHIS states that it will be expanding risk-based sampling in the coming months, utilizing incremental implementation to minimize import delays.

In risk-based sampling, APHIS determines the probability of finding a pest within a certain number of independent samples from a shipment and uses that information to calculate the number of sample units (such as bags, boxes or crates) it should select for inspection from each shipment. However, APHIS notes that risk-based sampling requires more time to inspect some shipments and that more samples may be inspected at the discretion of the APHIS inspector. To expedite the process, importers should ensure that an adequate number of staff is available to unload sample units for inspection, as APHIS inspectors do not provide loading or unloading services. In addition, when quarantine action pests are detected on a commingled shipment, the entire shipment is subject to action required.

APHIS had originally rolled out risk-based sampling nationwide in 2012 but suspended it when significant delays in shipment clearance occurred.

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