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NAMA Urges FDA to Increase Food Security Without Sacrificing Foreign Trade

April 9, 2003

CONTACT: T.J. Cantwell, Coordinator of Technical & Export Programs
202.484.2200, ext.109
tjcantwell@namamillers.org

Washington, DC – April 9, 2003. In recent comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a proposed regulation requiring a prior notice for all imported foods, the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) raised concerns about several provisions that would unnecessarily impede foreign trade. The regulation is mandated under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 that was signed by President Bush in July.

NAMA commended FDA for its increased focus on food security after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. John Gillcrist, NAMA Chairman and President of Bartlett Milling Company stated, “NAMA and its members are committed to maintaining a safe domestic food supply, but also in maintaining secure and open borders to facilitate trade.” He went on to explain, “Many U.S. millers rely on the importation of certain grains that U.S. farmers do not produce in significant quantities to satisfy commercial demand. For this reason it is important to the milling industry that international trade not be unduly restricted through the implementation of new regulations.”

NAMA presented five main recommendations the Association wants addressed in the final regulation.

  • allow the exporter to submit the prior notice of import
  • provide 24/7 staffing at the ports of entry to limit the amount of time necessary for prior notice and ensure timely inspections
  • shorten the period of time required for submission and consider the mode of transport
  • clarify the grower “if known” requirement as it relates to bulk grain shipments
  • establish procedures for the resealing of inspected shipments

“NAMA believes that with the inclusion of our recommendations and some other modifications the FDA can better secure the U.S. food supply against a potential terrorist event without sacrificing free and open foreign trade,” said Gillcrist.

NAMA has 46 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.

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NAMA comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulation on prior notice of imported food under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002

NAMA’s comments on FDA’s proposed regulation on registration of food facilities under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002

Bio on John Gillcrist

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