House approves bioterrorism legislation

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has voiced support for passage of a $4.6-billion bill to counter bioterrorism. The final legislation, HR 3448, was approved by the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 425-1, and likely will be approved by the Senate shortly.

Among provisions in the final version of the legislation was a measure aimed at strengthening the food industry's preparedness for a terrorist attack. As a member of the Alliance for Food Security, AFFI worked with House and Senate conferees to provide input on the legislation's food security provisions. Since the bill increases government oversight of the food industry on several levels, AFFI will continue to work through the alliance to help ensure that the new regulatory authority is used appropriately to improve food security. HR 3448:

  • Grants administrative detention authority to the Food and Drug Administration to hold foods they believe may pose a serious health threat.

  • Permits debarment authority to prevent “bad actors” from attempting to ship adulterated foods that pose serious health risks into the United States.

  • Limits new recordkeeping access for determining whether a food poses a serious health threat, and to trace the immediate source mid-distribution of suspect food.

  • Establishes new registration requirements that will be determined in an 18-month rulemaking process.

  • Mandates a prior-notice requirement for imported foods.

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