Study says food facilities failing to comply with Bioterrorism Act of 2002

The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 requires food facilities to register with the Food and Drug Administration yet a recent government review revealed that nearly half of food facilities have failed to give correct information.

Farms, retail facilities and restaurants are exempt from registering under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. All told, the FDA expected approximately 420,000 domestic and foreign food facilities to register. In total, 157,395 United States facilities and 234, 822 foreign facilities exporting to the United States, for a total of 392,217, registered.

The goal of the registration is to provide a valid emergency contact name or a physical address to contact the parent company or owner or operator in times of bioemergency. Twenty-three of the 130 facilities surveyed failed to provide this information.

Of those surveyed by the government review, nearly half were found to have failed to give correct information. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed failed to either provide accurate information upon first registering or failed to provide updated information after making changes at their facilities as required.

The report noted that, of the 130 facilities surveyed, 30 failed to provide correct information. Those facilities main reason for the failure, according to the report, was that they did not update their information as required. Another main reason for the failures was that the responsibility for maintaining the registration was transferred to someone else, who then reregistered the facility rather than updating it.

The report advised that the FDA should seek statutory authority that would allow it to require that food facilities reregister on a routine basis. A registration fee was also advised, which would deter facilities from submitting multiple registrations.

In addition, the report calls for civil penalties for facilities that fail to comply with the registry requirements.