The Growing Thicket

U.S. Public Health Security Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002: Among other things, this act requires food importers to maintain records about food shipments for up to two years to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify the source and the recipients of food products and their ingredients.

U.S. Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act: These acts originally required retailers to put country-of-origin labels on red meat, fruits, vegetables, wild fish and shellfish beginning Sept. 30, 2004. Congress subsequently passed a moratorium that put off the need to comply until September 2006, but some senators want to repeal the moratorium.

U.S. Container Security Initiative The U.S. Customs Service’s Container Security Initiative: aims to secure U.S. ports by ensuring that none of the 17,000 shipping containers arriving in the country each day contain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. As part of the program, Customs began requiring, as of February 2003, that companies importing goods into the United States by ship provide an electronic manifest 24 hours before the ship leaves a foreign port. The manifest has to include an accurate list of everything in the shipment.

E.U. Regulation (EC) No. 1830/2003: Approved by the European Parliament last July, this regulation requires all food and animal feed consisting of 0.9 percent or more of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to carry a label that reads: “This product is produced from GMOs.”