Overview of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Rincker Law Food & Ag Law Leave a Comment

I’m currently conducting a blog series where each week I give a brief overview of the responsibilities of a government agency regulating our food and agriculture system.  I think it’s a helpful reminder for everyone on just how complex our regulatory system really is.  It’s a game of Who’s Who for government players in the U.S. food and agriculture economy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”)  reports to the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Organizationally, APHIS administers the following programs:

  • Animal Care (“AC”)
  • Biotechnology and Regulatory Services (“BRS”)
  • International Services and Trade Support Team (“IS”)
  • Plant Protection & Quarantine (“PPQ”)
  • Veterinary Services (“VS”)
  • Wildlife Services (“WS”)

This subagency regulates the health and care of animals and plants.  Specifically, it is charged with the responsibility to monitor animal diseases, veterinarian accreditation, promulgate regulations under the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”), Horse Protection Act (“HPA”), and Animal Disease Traceability (“ADT”).  Furthermore, AMS regulates the import and export of animals, animal products, veterinary biologics, plans, plant products, pests, soil, genetically modified organisms (“GMO’s”), semen, embryos, other materials derived from animals (e.g., hormones, bacteria, meat products).  It too works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) to provide assistances during emergencies including natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Irene and Sandy).

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