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Comments Sought on Agent and Toxin Registration List
Indiana Ag Connection - 03/31/2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is conducting its biennial review of the select agents and toxins registration list. The Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002 requires the evaluation every two years of all potential animal or plant select agents based on their effects on health, production and marketability of the animals or plants, their ability to cause disease, and whether countermeasures or treatments are available. As outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, the agency will also evaluate potential select agents based on whether inclusion on the list would have a substantial negative impact on the research and development of solutions for the animal or plant disease caused by the agent or toxin.

Agents on the select agents list and are subject to strong regulations on use and movement in order to protect the American public and agriculture.

APHIS is seeking public feedback on the current list, and whether any updates are appropriate. Specifically, APHIS would like input on the following select agents, which it is considering removing from the list:

- Peronosclerospora philippinensis (Peronosclerospora sacchar; a plant pathogen, particularly for maize and sugarcane)

- African horse sickness virus

- Bacillus anthracis (Pasteur strain; a bacterium that is the causative agent of anthrax; normally found in environmental samples such as soil.)

- Brucella abortus, Brucella suis, and Brucella melitensis (three types of the bacteria that cause brucellosis and have the potential to be developed as bioterrorism agents due to their ability to undergo aerosolization); and

- Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus.

In the Federal Register posting, APHIS provides background on each of these select agents and the reason(s) they might be appropriate to remove from the list. To view this information and provide comment, visit www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2019-0018. After a 60-day public comment period, all feedback will be shared with APHIS's working groups to consider during the review process. After completing the review, APHIS will either republish the list or propose changes through the rulemaking process.

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