CTA urges harmonization of FDA regs

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Departments should harmonize requirements for cross border shipments, said CTA officials in comments to the FDA last week.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) urged the agency to further harmonize its requirements for cross border shipments with those of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP.

FDA is currently in the process of implementing a number of new regulations under the U.S. Bioterrorism Act. Full enforcement of provisions on prior notice of food shipments is slated to begin Aug. 13.

While acknowledging that progress has been made by the two agencies in bridging the gap between their requirements for the shipment of food products into the United States, CTA said that more must be done to eliminate inconsistencies that cause confusion for shippers and carriers, leading to problems at the border.

In its remarks, CTA urged the FDA to allow food products to be transported into the United States under the same requirements as other products moving under the Free and Secure Trade Program (FAST). Under this program, pre-screened importers, carriers and drivers are granted shorter prior notice time frames and fewer information requirements than non-FAST carriers.

The federal governments of the United States and Canada have encouraged FAST participation on the grounds that it will mean expedited border crossings and reduced information requirements. A move by FDA to allow food to move through the FAST stream in the same manner as other products would demonstrate the commitment to harmonization that industry has long encouraged, said Ron Lennox, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CTA.

CTA also urged FDA to:

h Harmonize all prior notice time frames with those of CBP
h Eliminate FDA requirements for prior notice on domestic Canadian shipments moving in-transit through the United States
h Increase hours of operation at the border
h Promote paperless electronic processing

A full copy of CTAs submission to the Food and Drug Administration is available at www.cantruck.com.

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