The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final rule that, effective March 30, will establish standards allowing APHIS to recognize compartments of foreign countries for animal disease status. These standards will provide a means to preserve international trade when regionalization is not feasible.

APHIS states that compartmentalization is a procedure that a country may implement to define and manage animal subpopulations of distinct health status and under common biosecurity management within its territory for the purpose of disease control and international trade. It is distinct from regionalization, which involves the recognition of geographical zones of a country that can be identified and characterized by their level of risk for different diseases, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

Under this rule, when a foreign government submits a request for recognition of a compartment, APHIS will conduct a disease risk assessment based on a list of eight factors that closely parallel those it uses when conducting regionalization evaluations and will provide for public notice and comment on the risk assessment. APHIS will then make a final determination and publish it in the Federal Register.

This rule also adds to APHIS’ regulations provisions for (a) imposing import restrictions or prohibitions when a compartment recognized as disease-free experiences an outbreak and (b) lifting those sanctions once the outbreak has been controlled.

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