2002N-0276 - Registration of Food Facilities Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002; Reopening of Comment Period
FDA Comment Number : EC374
Submitter : Ms. Brenda Simmons Date & Time: 05/19/2004 09:05:43
Organization : Prince Edward Island Potato Board
Food Association
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
GENERAL
GENERAL
Our organization represents the potato farmers of Prince Edward Island, and we license dealers to market PEI potatoes in Canadian and U.S. markets. Approximately twenty PEI potato dealers are active in the U.S. market on a regular basis, and the comments below are based on responses they provided to a brief survey we conducted during the last week of April, 2004.

Registration of Food Facilities

1. Cost of Hiring a U.S. Agent: Costs ranted from US$ 100 (for a "farm registration" to US$ 935, with most responses in the $700 - 900 range. The average was $708 de to a few responses which indicated lower fees.

2. The # of foreign facilities which have hired a U.S. agent...: Based on the responses, it appears that 100% of the dealers who ship to the U.S. have hired a U.S. agent. Additionally, a number of farms who grow and pack their own produce have hired a U.S. agent based on strong encouragement from border brokers who advise that this is necessary. Some growers have incurred costs in excess of US $500 for a "farm registration".

3. # of foreign facilities that have ceased exporting to the U.S. because they have decided not to hire/retain a U.S. agent? Zero.

Prior Notice of Imported Food and Feed Products

1. Cost of complying with Prior Notice requirements: Even though most dealers are filing prior notices electronically themselves, they are also incurring additional charges with their border brokers as a result of the prior notice requirements. These costs are separate from the costs of hiring a U.S. agent, and can be summarized as follows:
- The average charge per load due to prior notice requirements ranges from US $15 per load to $120 per load. The average charge for the dealers who responded was $50.85/load. On a hundredweight basis, this is approximately US$ 0.10/cwt (cwt=100 lbs).
- Based on the amount of potatoes we have shipped from PEI to the US market since the interim regulations took effect on December 12, 2003, the PEI potato industry has paid approximately US$ 150,000 to U.S. border brokers for prior notices. Again, this does not include the cost of hiring a US agent.
- In addition to the above, some dealers have incurred significant costs (approximately $2,000) in upgrading their EDI systems.
- None of the above includes the time required for dealers and staff to file prior notices and deal with the other aspects of the U.S. Bioterrorism Act requirements.

FAST/C-TPAT Registration

1. How many PEI potato dealers are currently registered with the FAST/C-TPAT
program? Based on survey responses received, approximately 30 percent are registered with the program.

Other Considerations

- The Prince Edward Island potato industry would welcome changse to the requirement for a U.S. agent, and would suggest as an alternative that facilities offer a telephone contact number which can be reached on a 24 hour basis.
- We would also welcome a further reduction in the prior notice period from four hours to one hour.
- We definitely seek a very clear explanation as to whether farms who grow and pack their own potatoes into consumer packs of 5, 10, 20, 50 pounds, etc. are exempt from the facilities registration requirement. We have been told by Canadian agriculture officials that such farms are exempt, but border brokers are providing contrary advice.
- We would appreciate any changes which would lessen the charges being incurred by our industry due to the facilities registration requirement and the prior notice requirements.
- We would also greatly appreciate any information that could be provided with respect to any areas of non-compliance that are being encountered by our industry so that it can be addressed.

We thank you for the opportunity to comment, and would be pleased to provide any additional information that may be required.