Background

Meat and poultry labels and organic product enforcement are among the topics of proposed and final regulations the Department of Agriculture is working to complete. The USDA’s most recent semiannual regulatory agenda lists the following regulations affecting international trade in agricultural products that could be issued within the next year, with expected timeframes for issuance of the rules indicated in parentheses. This agenda also lists rulemaking proceedings that have been in process for some time and are not as likely to see further progress in the near term.

Upcoming Regulations

- a proposed rule on strengthening organic enforcement that would, among other things, require imported organic products to be accompanied by an electronic import certificate to validate organic status and require import certificates to be submitted in the Automated Commercial Environment (July 2020; previously January 2020)

- a proposed rule to expand the categories of meat and poultry product labels that will be deemed generically approved and not required to be submitted to USDA (July 2020; previously February 2020)

Regulations Completed

- a final rule establishing an exception to the Lacey Act import declaration requirement for products containing a minimal amount of plant materials

- a final rule establishing standards allowing the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to recognize compartments (areas within a country) for animal disease status, which will affect import requirements

- a final rule revising APHIS regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered organisms 

- a final rule modifying the import reporting requirements for certain Irish potatoes, tomatoes, and onions

Regulations in Process

- a final rule removing the bovine spongiform encephalopathy-related import restrictions on sheep and goats and most of their products and adding import restrictions related to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies for certain wild, zoological, or other non-bovine ruminant species (proposed rule published July 2016)

- a final rule revising the bovine tuberculosis- and brucellosis-related import requirements for cattle and bison (proposed rule published December 2015)

- a final rule changing reporting requirements for fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop imports to implement the use of electronic form submissions (proposed rule issued December 2016)

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