(July 29) Regulation without representation is no better than taxation without representation.

For the small businesses that dominate the produce industry, there can be no joy in waking to another day when they are responsible for observing new rules and mandates from the federal government.

The new bioterrorism act will mean additional record-keeping requirements for produce shippers and importers. However, the Food and Drug Administration is taking the right approach in engaging industry groups like the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Alexandria, Va., in making the new regulations as efficient and practical as possible. Story, Page A3

The bioterrorism act provides ambitious deadlines for implementation. For example, registration of domestic and imported food facilities has a deadline of Dec. 12, 2003. In addition, rules relating to record keeping and notice of shipping also must be devised. Those proposed rules are likely to be published by the end of the year, and comment periods will follow.

Even before those comment periods, the FDA has indicated a willingness to listen to industry concerns. The FDA must make the burden of new regulation as light as possible as our country seeks to guard against terrorism without crippling commerce.