Canadians at odds with FDA trucking proposals

| 4/10/2003

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the industry's concerns over prenotification proposals for exports from Canada to the United States.

"In no way do we question the need for heightened security throughout the supply chain in the post-September 11 world," David Bradley, chief executive of CTA, said. "But the prospect of two sets of prior notice requirements from different agencies of the U.S. federal government is a major concern to CTA."

FDA is developing the prior notice requirement for food shipments into the United States under the Bioterrorism Act. The rules would require notice to be submitted by noon of the day prior to import of food products regulated by the FDA.

In addition, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (previously the U.S. Customs Service) is developing a prenotification rule following consultations with industry groups.  Customs dropped an earlier "straw man" proposal of four hours pre-lading and is now considering the trade community's call for a shorter, "more workable timeline of 15 to 30 minutes," the alliance said. 

"Not only are the time frames substantially different, there are separate information systems, different parties providing the information and different data elements," Bradley said. "It would be a logistical nightmare especially for LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers. Pallets containing food products would be subject to a minimum of 12 hours prior notice with carrier and border location data being supplied by the U.S. importer. The same food pallet, as well as all other shipments on the truck, would also be subjected to U.S. Customs prenotification requirements to be met by either the broker or carrier and supplied through a different information system and in a different time frame."

"In our submission to the United States Food and Drug Administration, we have suggested that instead of developing two processes – one for food and one for everything else – that a single interface be developed, and that the various government agencies share information that is relevant for their purposes," Bradley said.