Natural Foods Merchandiser

Bioterror compliance business as usual

Retailers must keep records showing sources of food they sell, but not customers who purchase it, under a new federal rule.

The record-keeping portion of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 was issued in December 2004 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Stores that employ 10 or fewer employees will be exempt from the rule, said attorney Diane McEnroe of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in Washington, D.C. ?This is in order to enable FDA to make a really easy trace back or trace forward if they need to,? whether due to terrorism or another threat to health, she said.

If approached by the FDA, companies must provide details about suppliers and transporters of products, including supplements and pet food.

Proof of compliance should be part of retailers? standard supplier contracts, said consultant Ed Steele. Steele and McEnroe spoke during a National Nutritional Foods Association teleconference Jan. 18.

The record-keeping rules go into effect Dec. 9 for companies with more than 500 employees. Smaller firms must implement the rule by June 9, 2006. Nonretailer companies with 10 or fewer employees have two years to comply.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 3/p. 18

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