Canada Calls for Delayed Enforcement of US Bioterrorism Preparedness Act

by 5m Editor
21 July 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1563. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1563

Canada is urging the US to delay full enforcement of its Bioterrorism Preparedness Act until all of its requirements have been finalized.

The US Bioterrorism Preparedness Act compels processors that export food or feed products to the US to register with the US Food and Drug Administration and shippers to provide prior notification of the arrival of goods at US border points.

The act came into effect December 12th but FDA's initial focus has been education and compliance awareness.

Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Senior Trade Policy Analyst David Cox says, even though the rules are still subject to change, full enforcement is scheduled to begin, August 13th.

"Some of the concerns that the Government of Canada has had is with the extent of awareness.

The FDA, during its transition period, has only been providing non-compliance letters to companies that haven't been complying since May.

We've heard some details from companies that the information hasn't really given them enough guidance to make decisions on whether they're in compliance with the rules.

Something that we've been communicating to the FDA is that perhaps it's a better idea, because right now they're interim final rules and subject to change, until the rules are final perhaps it's best for the FDA to continue on with its transition period or using discretionary enforcement and educating people on how to comply.

What we're basically saying is that, until the rules are final, perhaps it's best to be as flexible as possible so that people learn the rules and, until the FDA can provide sufficient information to guide people on when they're non-compliant, it's best to be flexible."

Cox says indications are that the act could be finalized by March of next year but that's at the discretion the Food and Drug Administration and is subject to change.

He says the hope is that the education period can continue until the rules are made final.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor