Thursday, May 5, 2011

FDA Issues Interim Final Rule for Importers of Food

Pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act (Pub. L. 111-353), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its regulations, requiring importers of food for both people and animals to report the name of any country to which the food has been refused entry. The Act directed the FDA to shift its focus to preventing contaminated and adulterated food from entering the U.S. market, rather than on reacting to food safety issues after they occur. The FDA believes that receiving information on whether another country has refused entry to the food will assist the FDA to identify imported food that may pose health and security risks to U.S. consumers.

Section 304 of the Act, which requires a report of “any country to which the article has been refused entry,” amends section 801(m) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 381(m)). Section 801(m) was originally added by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act). Under the Bioterrorism Act, food importers were required to submit certain information about the food in advance of the shipment into the United States. The FDA was permitted to refuse entry of the imported food if it did not receive adequate prior notice from the importers. Advance notice is to be submitted electronically to FDA/Customs. The Food Safety Modernization Act adds the additional requirement of providing whether another country refused admission to the food.

This interim final rule is effective July 3, 2011. Comments from the industry on the interim rule are due no later than June 6, 2011.

A copy of the Federal Register Notice can be found at:

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