Monthly Archives

March 2011

EventsFDA IssuesFoodImport AlertU.S.Customs

International Boston Seafood Show – LIVE!

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog March 22, 2011 0 comments

I am at the final day of the annual International Boston Seafood Show held at the Boston Convention Center. With record attendance and a record number of exhibitors filling the convention center floor with extravagant booths overflowing with shrimp, fish, crab, lobster, and other seafood delectables from all over the world, the Show is a success.   After all, this is the largest seafood show in North and South America.  Perennial exhibitors Pescanova, Inc. and Preferred Freezer Services had the largest and most memorable displays.  In addition to my speaking on the topic of "Food Safety", my law firm exhibited at the Show for the first time, and shared a booth with food testing laboratory, ABC Research Corp.

Serious topics for the educational seminars included "Rebuilding Consumer Confidence in Gulf Seafood," and "Food Safety".   There was significant discussion of aquaculture.  For pure fun, the Show included a new Game Lounge, the 5th Annual Oyster Shucking Competition, the 2nd Annual Tweet & Meet Tweetup, and a keynote address from Wayne Rogers, the actor from the hit series M*A*S*H.

FDA IssuesFood

Seafood Fraud

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog March 9, 2011 0 comments

In 2010, Americans consumed almost 6 billions pounds of seafood.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s food supply, including seafood, is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. That is a tough task considering 80% of the seafood we eat is imported from countries all over the world.  Unfortunately, the reality is that seafood fraud is common. Moreover, it can have not only economic, but food safety, consequences. 

According to a February 2009 GAO Report provided to the United States Congress which criticized the FDA for its lack of enforcement:

The most common types of seafood fraud are:

1.  shipping products through an intermediary country to avoid customs duties (transshipping),

2. adding excess amounts of water or ice to the seafood to increase its weight (over-treating),

3. substituting a different species of seafood for the species listed on the label (species substitution), and

4. including less seafood in a package than indicated by the label (short-weighting).

Read this typical January 20, 2011 Press Release from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding a company that pled guilty to false labeling of imported fish.  Read this typical Warning Letter from the FDA against a seafood company for misbranding its shrimp.

The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in January 2011, is a step in the right direction to give the FDA the legal authority to prevent, not just respond to, seafood fraud. As FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg stated in a recent press release:

This law represents a sea change for food safety in America, bringing a new focus on prevention, and I expect that in the coming years it will have a dramatic and positive effect on the safety of the food supply.

The topics of seafood fraud and the Food Safety Modernization Act will be discussed in detail at the "Food Safety Reform Update" panel at the International Boston Seafood Show on Sunday, March 20, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Learn how to prevent seafood fraud, how to detect seafood fraud, and what to do if you or your company are under investigation by the FDA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for seafood or other import fraud.

TSA

TSA 100% Air Cargo Screening Update – 6 Months Later?

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog March 3, 2011 1 Comment

On Thursday, March 10, 2011, from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. EST, Marc Rossi, Chief, Cargo Screening, TSA Headquarters will speak at a webinar hosted by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America.  Shippers, indirect air carriers (IACs) or freight forwarders, and international airlines will benefit from learning about the newest policies and requirements by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  Sign up here to take advantage of this webinar opportunity.

A quick chronology is important.  On Aug. 3, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act). The 9/11 Act required TSA to establish a system for the air cargo industry to screen 100% of cargo transported on passenger aircraft in the United States at the piece level.  That goal was achieved in August 2010.

This webinar is a natural follow-up to my April 7, 2010 blog post entitled “TSA 100% CARGO SCREENING RULE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2010.”  It is just over 6 months since the TSA had implemented its 100% cargo screening requirement, so it’s time for a check-up. While Marc Rossi will focus on the operational requirements of 100% air cargo screening as part of the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP), I will focus on the legal requirements of the TSA for IACs, as well as explain how to respond to a TSA Letter of Investigation and a TSA Notice of Proposed Penalty for any alleged failure to comply with some TSA requirement.

The 100% Air Cargo Screening by TSA – How’s it Going 6 Months Later? webinar is sponsored by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), and you may participate in the webinar by registering on-line, or calling (202) 466-0222 .