NEWARK, Del. -- The Produce Marketing Association has asked for flexibility and recognition of the special needs of fruits and vegetables in comments submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the recently adopted bioterrorism legislation, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
ed and what the record should be.
Regarding prior notice for imported food shipments, the law states that notice must provide the article, the manufacturer and shipper, the grower, the country of origin and other key points. Without prior notice, the article will be refused admission into the country.
The association recommended that FDA port operations be increased to provide for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage to allow immediate electronic notification for imported food shipments.
"Since fresh produce is perishable and because of volatile market demands, fresh produce moves very quickly through the distribution system," said Kathy Means, vice president of PMA. "In the event that any product must be held, the items must be stored in appropriate facilities to protect the quality, integrity and salability of the product while being held."
PMA also recommended the agency clarify which businesses would be exempt under the act, including farms and restaurants. Under the definition of restaurant, PMA asked that food-service operations in supermarkets, convenience stores, noncommercial food-service operations and worksite food-service operations be included.
The government has 18 months in which to issue final regulations.
PMA members who wish to read all the comments to the FDA may log in to the Members Only section of www.pma.com and look for the Food Security Resources area.