Proposed Bioterrorism Regulations 'Must Not Unnecessarily Burden Either the Food Industry or FDA,' Says NFPA

WASHINGTON, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 3, the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration on the Agency's proposed regulations on prior notice of food imports and food facility registration, which implement the Bioterrorism Act signed into law in 2002. Dr. Rhona Applebaum, NFPA's Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, made the following statement:

"NFPA urges that the regulations implementing the Bioterrorism Act reflect the straightforward requirements set forth by Congress, to enhance food security in this country. Our industry strongly supports a rigorous U.S. food security system, and we supported the Bioterrorism Act when it passed last year. We recognize that FDA is working diligently to meet tight deadlines set by the Act. However, these regulations must be both effective and efficient, and they must not unnecessarily burden either the food industry or FDA.

"As proposed, FDA's regulations for registration of food facilities and prior notice of imports go well beyond Congressional intent, and would pose a significant burden to industry in terms of both cost and operational practices. We believe that there are numerous ways that the regulations can and should be revised before they are finalized, both to lessen their negative impact and to ensure that they reflect the true purpose of the Bioterrorism Act, which is to prevent an incident or respond to a threat of bioterrorism involving the food supply.

"We are gratified by the FDA Commissioner's recent comments that he plans to listen to industry, and seek ways to improve the regulations. NFPA will continue to work with FDA to see that the final regulations are truly effective in enhancing food security, and do not negatively affect the U.S. food industry's ability to deliver safe, affordable foods or impede domestic commerce or international trade."

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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