The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agriculture Research Service are developing a biosafety and biocontainment manual that describes how to work safely with pathogens and pests of animals, plants, or animal or plant products in a laboratory setting. The scope of this manual includes pathogens and pests of terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants.

The Agriculture Biosafety/Biocontainment Manual (AgBMBL) will be a companion manual to the National Institutes of Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 6th edition—currently under development. The BMBL will focus on those biosafety issues of concern to public health research. The companion AgBMBL will address biosafety/biocontainment topics of concern in agricultural research.

As a first step, USDA has developed a draft table of contents for the manual. This draft table of contents will serve as an outline of the topic considerations to be covered for each division (i.e., terrestrial animals, aquaculture animals, terrestrial plants, terrestrial pest [parasitic] plants, and aquatic plants).

The USDA is requesting public input into this manual’s development. Visit this government regulations website to view the draft table of contents and submit comments. We will accept comments for 60 days ending on February 10, 2015. As the AgBMBL’s development continues, we will provide additional opportunities for public involvement.