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APHIS publishes changes to NPIP Program Standards

Provisions include requirements for applying for compartmentalization of facilities and for facility design and management.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has updated the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) Program Standards, according to a notice in the Dec. 14 Federal Register.

In a previous notice, APHIS had made available for public review and comment proposed changes to the NPIP Program Standards pertaining to the compartmentalization of primary poultry breeding establishments and approval of compartment components such as farms, feed mills, hatcheries and egg depots.

These changes will now be added to the NPIP Program Standards, applicable Feb. 12, 2019, APHIS said.

NPIP is a cooperative federal/state/industry mechanism for controlling certain poultry diseases that consists of a variety of programs intended to prevent and control poultry diseases.

The regulations in section 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 56, 145, 146 and 147 contain the NPIP provisions, which APHIS amends from time to time to incorporate new scientific information and technologies within the plan.

Because changes in diagnostic science, testing technology and best practices for maintaining sanitation are continual and the rule-making process can be lengthy, certain provisions of the plan are contained in an NPIP Program Standards document rather than in the regulations, APHIS said. The NPIP Program Standards may be updated or revised via a notice-based process rather than by rule-making.

The regulations at 9 CFR 145.45, 145.74 and 145.84 provide the basis for compartmentalization of primary poultry breeding establishments, APHIS said. Compartmentalization is a procedure that a country may implement to define and manage animal subpopulations of distinct health status within its territory -- in accordance with the guidelines in the World Organization for Animal Health Terrestrial Animal Health Code -- for the purpose of facilitating disease control and international trade.

In 2016, APHIS proposed adding provisions for compartmentalization of primary poultry breeding establishments and approving compartment components, such as farms, feed mills, hatcheries and egg depots. These proposed provisions included requirements for applying for compartmentalization of facilities and for facility design and management as well as an outline of the auditing system APHIS proposed to use to evaluate compartments and their component operations, the Dec. 14 notice explained.

APHIS solicited comments for 30 days and received six comments from poultry breeders and suppliers of breeding stock, egg producers and veterinarians. All of the commenters supported the proposed updates, APHIS said.

In addition, APHIS said it is making one minor editorial change to the compartmentalization provisions that are being added to the NPIP Program Standards. The editorial change clarifies that visitors to farms, feed mills, hatcheries and egg depots must agree in writing to follow company-established protocols regarding personal items and food.

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