WASHINGTON, DC — October 9, 2003 — “The bioterrorism regulations issued today strike a good balance between strengthening food security and enabling food retailers and wholesalers to provide consumers the fresh and healthful products they demand,” said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Tim Hammonds, commenting on the rules released today by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We applaud the agency for the flexibility allowed when importing perishable products. The shorter prior-notice requirements (two to eight hours) will help ensure that these foods have ample shelf life. And the revised registration requirements ease the need for copious and duplicate records that already exist in state and local government offices.

“Our food security strategy must continue to emphasize action over paperwork — especially when the information requested is already widely available.

“We welcome the opportunity to address these and other concerns in the additional comment period that FDA has provided by deeming these ‘interim’ regulations.”

“The food industry is taking every step possible to improve security,” he said. “It is critical that industry and government use our resources in a timely, cooperative and efficient manner. These rules appear to meet these principles. We hope that FDA continues this approach when issuing the regulations governing industry record keeping.”