FDA releases draft of final ruling for food importers

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration released its final rule and a draft policy guide on compliance for importing food.

The agency said Tuesday that this regulation is part of its efforts to protect the U.S. food supply from contamination, terrorism strikes and other food-borne emergencies.

The final rule follows an previous interim rule in effect since Oct. 2003 which requires that the FDA be alerted as to any and all food products being imported to the United States, the FDA has said. FDA’s new ruling is part of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act created in 2002. The new ruling will stay in place through May 6, 2009.

The new ruling requires that new food import submissions to FDA’s Prior Notice System Interface be submitted within 15 calendar days prior to the anticipated date of arrival in the United States, but no more than 30 days before the planned date of arrival submitted to Bureau of Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Broker Interface of the Automated Commercial System. This is a revision of the interim regulation that submissions be received by 5 days prior to arrival.

The submitter must also present, in addition to the name of the manufacturer, either a registration number of the facility associated with the food’s or the complete address of the facility where the food was manufacturer along with a reason why no registration number could be provided.

The FDA is calling for comments on the draft ruling before it becomes finalized.

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