Final food pre-note rule published

WASHINGTON, (Oct. 14, 2003) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published interim final rules requiring prior notice of imported food shipments and registration of food facilities.

The rules, which will be subject to a 75 day comment period, require domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the U.S. to pre-notify the agency of food shipments at least two hours before arrival at the border.

Such businesses will also have to register with the FDA by December 12. However, “transport vehicles that hold food only in the usual course of their business as carriers” do not have to register.

David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance said he’s pleased the FDA has at least “come part way towards meeting the concerns of industry.” Bradley was referring to a proposed rule floated earlier this year that would have required that importers give notice by noon the day before the arrival of a shipment of food into the United States.

FDA has also advised that the final regulation could see time frames further reduced as part of the FDA-CBP (Customs and Border Protection) plan to coordinate border-management activities more efficiently. Under a similar pre-notification proposal released by CBP, shipments that qualify under the FAST program would be subject to a pre-notification timeframes of only 30 minutes and one hour for all other imports.

“We remain concerned about differences between the FDA rules and advance cargo information rules proposed by CBP,” Bradley said. “Carriers are the ones who will bear the brunt of border delays if there is any break-down in the information flow among food importers, customs brokers, the CBP and the FDA.”

The interim final rules can be read at:

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