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WASHINGTON - New rules proposed Wednesday by officials at the Food and Drug Administration would require importers of most food and beverages to notify the government before their products could enter the United States, The Associated Press reports.
This and another proposal that would go into effect Dec. 12 are designed to help the agency target its inspections and improve terrorism prevention, officials said.
"The more we know about the source of the food we eat, the better prepared we'll be to monitor its safety," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said.
The first proposal would not apply to travelers who have packed food in their baggage for personal use. It also would not cover meat, poultry and egg products, which are already checked by the Agriculture Department.
A second proposal would require domestic and foreign food processors that do business with the United States to register with the FDA. More than 400,000 companies make, pack or store food for human and animal consumption in America, the FDA said.
Failure to comply could result in civil or criminal action, and the products would be held.
The proposal would exempt some food providers, such as farms, restaurants, other retail food businesses and nonprofit centers that directly serve people.
The FDA said it will accept public comment before issuing final regulations, which are expected by Oct. 12.