The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will publish an interim rule establishing the definitions of “common cultivar” and “common food crop” and seeks public comment on the definitions of “commercial scale” and “tree,” terms used in the Lacey Act, a federal law that combats trafficking in illegal wildlife, fish, and plants.
The Act allows limited exclusions from its provisions for three categories of plants:
- Common cultivars, except trees, and common food crops.
- Scientific specimens.
- Plants that are to remain planted or to be planted or replanted, such as nursery stock.
The Act does not define the terms “common cultivar” or “common food crop.” Instead, USDA, working closely with the Department of the Interior, has the authority to define these terms.
Because common food crops and common cultivars are among the categories of items not subject to the provisions of the Lacey Act, establishing definitions is necessary for enforcement purposes, USDA said. The definitions in the rule are designed to exclude most commercially grown items from the requirements of the Lacey Act.
An illustrative list of current common cultivars and common food crops is available on the APHIS Website
Since the list continues to evolve, USDA encourages the public to send inquiries about specific taxa or commodities and requests to add taxa or commodities to the list by writing to The Lacey Act, ATT: Common Cultivar/Common Food Crop, c/o U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 10, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, Md. 20737, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquirers and requesters should include the following information:
- Scientific name of the plant (genus, species).
- Common or trade names.
- Annual trade volume (e.g., cubic meters) or weight (e.g., metric tons/kilograms) of the commodity.
- Any other information that will help us make a determination. This information could include the countries or regions where the taxa or commodities are grown, estimated number of acres or hectares in commercial production, etc.
APHIS and the Fish and Wildlife Service will jointly decide which products to include on the list, USDA said.