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Bioterrorism rules and packaging

FDA is reviewing comments on its rules implementing the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002. As originally written, some packaging materials are covered by the regulations because the act’s definition of “food” includes “substances that migrate into food from food packaging and other articles that contact food.”That means suppliers of food packaging must register their facilities by December 12, 2003, and must give prior notice of imports of packaging materials into the United States.

In a briefing earlier this year, FDA officials said the regulations are intended to apply to manufacturers and importers of “finished food packaging” that comes in contact with food, such as the liner in a cereal box, but not the outside box. That may be the intent, but legal experts warn that the language in the provisions will need to be changed if it is not to apply to all food packaging.

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