USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending regulations regarding animals and animal products imported into the United States from a region of the European Union.

This final rule will apply a uniform set of import requirements for classical swine fever to the region consisting of the 15-member states that made up the EU prior to its expansion on May 1, 2004. These member states (EU-15) are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

According to APHIS' final rule, import prohibitions will be placed on all swine and swine products entering the United States from any region in any member state of the EU-15 that the EU has quarantined due to CSF outbreak. Quarantined areas are referred to as restricted zones. Any restrictions due to a CSF outbreak in the EU-15 will be implemented and released by an administrative process rather than a regulatory process.

In the event of a CSF outbreak in domestic swine, importation prohibitions will remain in effect for six months following swine depopulation, and the cleaning and disinfection of the last infected premise in the restricted zone even if a EU-15 veterinary authority lifts the area's designation as a restricted zone before the six months have elapsed.

APHIS has determined that these changes are necessary in order to prevent the introduction of CSF into the United States while increasing our responsiveness to changes in the CSF situation in the EU.

This final rule is scheduled for publication in the May 19 Federal Register and becomes effective June 19.