New US Food Rules Unlikely To Hurt Trade

New Delhi, Aug 29: | Updated: Aug 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
New Delhi does not expect any disruption in the bilateral trade arising from the tougher food import rules being put in place by the US food and drug administration (FDA) from December 12. It has taken comfort from the fact that the four set of rules circulated by FDA for eliciting public opinion will apply to all countries exporting to North America and hence are non-discriminatory.

The new rules have been framed under the US Bio-terrorism Act of 2002. They are intended to make FDA respond quickly to a threatened or actual terrorism attack on the food supplies and also to determine the location and cost of a potential threat, officials say.

One of the rules requires registration of domestic and foreign food supplies that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human and animal consumption in the US. Another regulation requires prior notice to FDA of food imported or offered for imports into America. The third rule entails specifying information that must be included and retained in records, and which will also identify the immediate previous sources and immediate subsequent recipients of food. The fourth rule identifies procedures under which FDA will administratively detain food items those pose serious health threats to humans or animals.

Exemption from these rules are proposed for certain facilities, including restaurants, non-processing fishing vessels and facilities regulated exclusively by the US agriculture department.

Again, driven by national security considerations after the September 11, Washington has already introduced a new 24-hour vessel manifest rule which will apply to all countries.