FDA Must Refocus Proposed Rules on Prior Notice, NFPA Says Current Proposed Rules Are Pointlessly Burdensome and Potentially Costly

WASHINGTON, Jan 30, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Rules proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for implementation of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 have set forth impractical reporting requirements that exceed the statutory mandate, according to the National Food Processors Association.

"NFPA will submit comments to the Agency and work with regulators to make the rules less burdensome, but still effective in protecting the U.S. food supply," said Rhona Applebaum, Ph.D., NFPA executive vice president and chief science officer.

"The food industry considers the proposed rules onerous, both in terms of the timeframe for prior notification of intent to import food and the level of detail required," Dr. Applebaum said. "It is difficult to discern how the detailed information that FDA is requesting would facilitate protection of the food supply."

"The proposed rules go beyond the true purpose of the Bioterrorism Act, which is to prevent an incident or respond to a threat of bioterrorism involving the food supply," Dr. Applebaum said.

"FDA needs to recognize that if rules are inconsistent with trade in practice, they may adversely affect and significantly impede commerce," Dr. Applebaum noted. "The proposed rules need to take into account the differences among modes of transportation and the variations in the timelines by which they operate. There are basic differences between transportation modes when moving foodstuffs into the United States by air, land and sea. It is not a 'one-size-fits-all' situation."

"Greater flexibility is necessary on the part of FDA, or food companies are likely to find it impossible to supply information at the level of detail requested under the timelines as currently proposed," Dr. Applebaum said. "The result may well be delayed transport of food into the United States with very real consequences particularly where perishable items are concerned."

The National Food Processors Association (NFPA) is the voice of the $500 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, food security, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs.

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