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first_img The FDA has extended the public comment period on the prior notice interim final rule through July 13, Dr. Lester M. Crawford, acting FDA commissioner, told the health subcommittee Jun 25. The final rule will be published in March 2005. Historically, the FDA inspected less than 1% of imports. That percentage has doubled. FDA inspectors conducted 78,659 examinations of imported food shipments in fiscal year 2003, according to Herndon. The number far exceeded the agency’s goal of 48,000 field inspections for the year and was more than six times the 12,000 inspections conducted in fiscal 2001. Food importers give the new rules mixed reviews. “What we initially thought was 450,000, we’re thinking is more likely 250,000,” Herndon said. It’s also likely that some companies aren’t aware they need to register or that they don’t believe the rules apply to them. The notices allow agency officials to judge which shipments need inspection. The food security rules are jointly enforced by the FDA and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Despite increased inspections, few shipments have been detained. Since the prior-notice law took effect in December 2003, FDA and customs inspectors have detained 12 shipments because of concerns about food contamination or filth. None of the shipments was found to be a threat to people or animals, Herndon said. Importers must register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and provide 2 to 8 hours’ notice of food shipments. The FDA has been receiving advance notice of about 150,000 shipments each week, according to the agency’s compliance summary information. About 99.3% of those notices are completed on time, a marked improvement from earlier this year, Michael Herndon, a public affairs specialist with the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told CIDRAP News yesterday. “We’re going back now and examining to make sure the prior-notice information is accurate,” Herndon added. Stout also asked that the FDA eliminate requirements that food and beverage companies track lot or production codes for each retail product. If the food supply is threatened, Stout said, companies and retailers remove all the suspect products from shelves. The new system has led to more targeted inspections and prompted some criticism from the food industry. But as with a student’s homework assignment, filling in the blanks doesn’t always mean giving a right answer. Although most notices are complete, the information isn’t always accurate. “While FDA made many improvements to the proposed regulations, there is still room for more, especially with concern to prior notice and record keeping,” said Susan Stout, vice president of federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, in congressional testimony Jun 25. Addressing the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, she requested that the FDA provide feedback on incomplete notices. Registration remains a stumbling block. By Jun 24, only 208,277 foreign and domestic companies had registered with the FDA. By some FDA estimates, twice that many businesses need to register; others say the estimates have been adjusted. Herndon said Jun 29 that the FDA continues to work with importers to educate them about registration and completing the prior-notice forms. The FDA went gently into the new rules by emphasizing education. Now regulators are moving toward the enforcement end of the spectrum. Jun 30 (CIDRAP News) – As federal agencies near the Aug 12 deadline for full enforcement of the food security provisions of the 2002 Bioterrorism Act, authorities say the food industry is getting better at following the new rules. Inspectors also have more sophisticated tools to target suspect imports. When companies notify the FDA that a shipment is arriving, agency employees can run that information through up to 100 checks, looking for red flags such as easily contaminated foods, specific countries of origin, or a product that matches other intelligence information, an FDA spokesman said. “Even though the bigger picture is to protect Americans from bioterrorism, we’re still not in the business of impeding commerce,” he said. Amy Becker is a full-time reporter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a freelance reporter for CIDRAP. She will enter the University of Minnesota’s graduate program in public health administration and policy in fall 2004.last_img read more

first_imgThe villas also have matching $1.595 million price tags.The main has an ensuite, walk-in wardrobe and balcony while the other two bedrooms have build-in wardrobes.Mr Spence said the downstairs living areas were his favourite part of the villas.“I think the kitchen area opening up to the pool is special,” he said.The villas are listed on the market for $1.595 million each. Why close the house up when you live in a city with amazing weather year-round. The gourmet-style kitchens have fully-integrated fridges, pyrolytic ovens and marble island benches with matching splashbacks.The living areas flow seamlessly outside onto decks with gardens and plunge pools.Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. Now that’s a beachside villa.MARBLE, Blackbutt timber floors and imported Turkish ceramic tiles characterise a pair of contemporary villas at Mermaid Beach.No expense has been spared in the design and construction of the Petrel Ave residences, which are 250m from the beach.Owner Rory Spence, who designed the villas, said they had a modern style unlike many other properties on the Gold Coast. Who wouldn’t want to cook in this kitchen. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa12 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe deck is designed for entertaining.“I guess it’s a bit of a twist on the contemporary beach house,” he said.The two-storey properties have similar floorplans with an open kitchen, living and dining area forming the centrepiece.The living areas are framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and doors to make the most of natural light.MORE NEWS: Rare position attracts house hunters in droves MORE NEWS: Tree house snapped up for almost $2m Every inch of the bathrooms are luxurious. The matching villas each have three bedrooms.last_img read more