FDA Amends 1975-era Turtle Ban Law




The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has amended the regulation that bans the sale or distribution of viable turtle eggs and live turtles with carapace lengths of less than four inches. Under the new regulation, which will be open for a 75 day public comment, viable turtle eggs or live turtles with carapace lengths of less than four inches will no longer have to be destroyed by the FDA or under the supervision of the FDA.

Red eared slider Red eared slider. Photo by Gina Cioli/i5 Publishing

Photo by Gina Cioli/i5 Publishing.

Red eared slider. Photo by Gina Cioli/i5 Publishing.

The FDA said in a press release that alternatives to destruction should be pursued, including raising turtles until their carapace lengths exceed the minimum four inches, donating the turtles to scientific, educational, organizations that exhibit animals such as zoos, or exporting the animals while remaining in compliance with any laws. The amendment to the 1975 law will take effect 135 days following publication in the Federal Register. Under the 1975 law, the FDA demanded any viable turtle eggs or live turtles with carapace lengths of less than four nches in length be destroyed. The law was initially written to prevent the spread of salmonellosis. It was perceived that young children would put the smaller turtles in their mouths, potentially spreading the disease.


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