In the Dec. 27 Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published an interim rule and request for comments concerning revisions to the agency's testing and certification requirements for brucellosis. Specifically, APHIS is:
- Amending the brucellosis regulations to reduce the amount of testing required to maintain Class Free status for states that have been Class Free for five or more years and have no Brucella abortus in wildlife.
- Removing the provision for automatic reclassification of any Class Free state or area to a lower status if two or more herds are found to have brucellosis within a two-year period or if a single brucellosis-affected herd is not depopulated within 60 days.
- Reducing the age at which cattle are included in herd blood tests.
- Adding a requirement that any Class Free state or area with B. abortus in wildlife must develop and implement a brucellosis management plan approved by the administrator in order to maintain Class Free status.
- Providing an alternative testing protocol for maintaining the certified brucellosis-free status of dairy herds, which will give producers more flexibility for the herd certification process.
APHIS said these changes are necessary to refocus resources to control and prevent the spread of brucellosis and to protect and maintain the economic viability of the domestic livestock industry.
APHIS will consider all comments received before Feb. 25.