H. R. 924
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 8, 2007
Mr. Alexander (for himself, Mr. Baker, Mr. McCrery, Mr. Boustany, Mr. Jindal, Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. Melancon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To require the Food and Drug Administration to permit the sale of baby turtles as pets so long as the seller uses proven methods to effectively treat salmonella.
This Act may be cited as the
Domestic Pet Turtle Market Access Act
Congress makes the following findings:
Pet turtles less than 10.2 centimeters in diameter have been banned for sale in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration since 1975 due to health concerns.
The Food and Drug Administration does not ban the sale of iguanas or other lizards, snakes, frogs, or other amphibians or reptiles that are sold as pets in the United States that also carry salmonella bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration also does not require that these animals be treated for salmonella bacteria before being sold as pets.
The technology to treat turtles for salmonella, and make them safe for sale, has greatly advanced since 1975. Treatments exist that can nearly eradicate salmonella from turtles, and individuals are more aware of the causes of salmonella, how to treat salmonella bacteria, and the seriousness associated with salmonella bacteria.
University research has shown that these turtles can be treated in such a way that they can be raised, shipped, and distributed without having a recolonization of salmonella.
University research has also shown that pet owners can be equipped with a treatment regiment that allows the turtle to be maintained safe from salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration should allow the sale of turtles less than 10.2 centimeters in diameter as pets as long as the sellers are required to use proven methods to treat the turtles for salmonella and maintain a safe pet.
Sale of baby turtles
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Food and Drug Administration shall not restrict the sale by a turtle farmer or other commercial retail seller of a turtle that is less than 10.2 centimeters in diameter as a pet if—
the turtle is raised, shipped, and sold using methods that are proven to keep the turtle free of salmonella, using salmonella safety standards that are comparable to such standards relating to other animals, including reptiles and amphibians, that are allowed for sale as pets, or animal products that are allowed for sale as food products;
the Administration has approved a plan submitted by the turtle farmer or commercial retail seller involved relating to compliance with paragraph (1); and
the farmer or other commercial retail seller includes, with the sale of such a turtle, a disclosure to the buyer that includes—
the dangers, including possible severe illness or death, especially for at-risk people who may be susceptible to salmonella bacteria, such as children, pregnant women, and others who may have weak immune systems, that could result if the turtle is not properly handled and safely maintained;
the proper handling of the turtle, including an explanation of proper hygiene such as handwashing after handling a turtle; and
the proven methods of treatment that, if properly applied, keep the turtle safe from salmonella;
a detailed explanation of how to properly treat the turtle to keep it safe from salmonella, using the proven methods of treatment referred to under subparagraph (A), and how the buyer can continue to purchase the tools, treatments, or any other required item to continually treat the turtle; and
a statement that buyers of pet turtles should not abandon the turtle or abandon it outside, as the turtle may become an invasive species to the local community, but should instead return them to a commercial retail pet seller or other organization that would accept turtles no longer wanted as pets.
A turtle farmer or other commercial seller that desires to sell a turtle as provided for under subsection (a) shall submit a plan to the Food and Drug Administration that details the manner in which the farmer or seller will ensure compliance with the requirements of subsection (a)(1) with respect to the turtles involved. The plan shall include use of non-antibiotic compounds that suppress or eliminate the presence of salmonella in turtle hatchlings.
Action by FDA
Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Food and Drug Administration receives a plan under paragraph (1), the Administration shall accept or reject such plan. If such plan is rejected, the Administration shall provide clear, specific guidance on the reasons for such rejection. The Administration may only reject such a plan if it is determined that the plan fails to achieve the same salmonella safety standards as such standards relating to other animals, including reptiles and amphibians, that are allowed for sale as pets, or animal products that are allowed for sale as food products.
Rule of construction
Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the Food and Drug Administration to hold the sale of turtles less than 10.2 centimeters in diameter as a pet to any greater salmonella safety standard applicable to other reptiles or amphibians sold as pets, animals sold as pets, or food products regulated by such Administration.