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    Sept. 30 Deadline to Train for Meth Law Coming Fast: FMI

    WASHINGTON - Retailers are up against a tight deadline to complete training to meet the Combat Methamphetamine Act training requirements, the Food Marketing Institute's director of editorial services, Bill Greer, told Progressive Grocer late last week.

    WASHINGTON - Retailers are up against a tight deadline to complete training to meet the Combat Methamphetamine Act training requirements, the Food Marketing Institute's director of editorial services, Bill Greer, told Progressive Grocer late last week.

    Retailers have until Sept. 30 to complete training, and FMI is trying to help with a customized online training program. The trade group is also requesting a reasonable grace period for full compliance enforcement.

    The Combat Methamphetamine Act imposes sales limits on cough and cold products containing pseudoephedrine and other chemicals that can be used illegally to produce meth.

    FMI's program is based on requirements outlined in late August by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The program:

    -- Provides cashiers the training needed to accept payments for the products.
    -- Instructs pharmacists and other staff who dispense the products from behind counters how to handle the transactions, having customers fill out logbooks and checking their photo IDs.
    -- Creates an electronic compliance record retailers can use to certify to the DEA that their employees received the training required.
    -- Accounts for state training requirements that supersede those in the federal law, ensuring that retailers in those states receive the proper instruction.

    Retailers can obtain the training through a link at FMI's Web site, www.fmi.org. There, retailers can also learn how to set up portals to the training program on their own Web sites.

    FMI said it is working with Bush Administration officials to ensure that the DEA implements these and the law's other requirements in a reasonable manner -- particularly that the agency exercises discretion in enforcing all the provisions of the law.

    The DEA has not yet published full regulations to implement this law. These details include certification procedures along with the logbook and photo ID requirements. FMI said it will distribute these details to its members as soon as they are issued. In the meantime, FMI is making the case to the DEA that food retailers will be requesting a reasonable grace period for full compliance enforcement.

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