This paper provides an overview of the four key sections of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, with regard to Administrative Detention (Section 303), Facilities Registration (Section 305), Records and Maintenance (Section 306), and Prior Notice of Food Imports (Section 307). The potential impacts of the Bioterrorism Act on the food industry are examined through qualitative analysis of industry submissions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) docket for each provision, and quantitatively through survey results, which were administered online by the Food Institute (FI) of Woodbridge, NJ and analyzed by Rutgers, Food Policy Institute (FPI). Of the four key sections from the Bioterrorism Act that most affect the food industry, stakeholders were surveyed on two sections, Prior notice of Food Imports and Facilities Registration. While survey responses reveal that many food firms are aware of pending Bioterrorism Act policies, few however, have taken action towards compliance. Facilities registration is touted as the least cumbersome in terms of compliance. Results indicate that 50 percent of food industry professionals surveyed were not aware that many food firms must register with the FDA by the 12 December 2003 deadline; and, 20 percent, while aware of the facilities registration deadline, have done nothing to prepare. Being unprepared for and subsequently complying with Bioterrorism Act rules is an overarching concern, which is apparent in both the survey results and docket summaries. Moreover, upon review of docket submissions to the FDA, it seems that food firms are generally sympathetic towards the need for increased food system security; however, the impact of the Bioterrorism Act can be both daunting and costly. Many perceive that significant changes to capitol costs will be required to meet FDA standards.


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