(Oct. 6) The produce industry has spoken, and apparently the federal government has listened.

That’s the impression industry leaders have from discussions with Food and Drug Administration officials concerning the prior notice provision of the bioterrorism law.

A proposed rule on prior notice earlier this year said U.S. importers of food, including produce, would be required to submit information about their shipments by noon the day before it was to arrive in the U.S.

The produce industry insisted that requirement could result in shipment delays of 20-40 hours, thus damaging product quality, creating spoilage and providing a greater opportunity for terrorists to act if the delays caused lengthy lines at ports of entry.

Indications are that the FDA, which is expected to release its final rule on prior notice Oct. 10, will require only two hours’ notice and ask for the identity of the brand and grower, if known, on each manifest. That’s a far cry from the proposed regulations, which would have required more detailed data, including customs information, packer and carrier identification and country of origin.

Clearly, the goals of the federal government and the produce industry are the same: to ensure a safe, secure, affordable and ample food supply to the nation.

Working together to combat the threat terrorism may pose to the food supply is the sensible way to blunt that danger.

And that apparently is what’s happening on the prior notice rule. We’ll soon find out.