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food safety

FDA IssuesFoodFSMAImport

FSMA: Stay Complaint with DTL’s ‘PICTURE’!

posted by Jennifer Diaz January 12, 2017 0 comments

FSMA todo listEach year, according to the findings of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die as the result of food-related diseases. Instead of reacting to this news on a yearly basis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to do something about it (although not fast enough, some would say) by enacting the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”). This law, which went into effect on January 4, 2011, aims to protect public health and ensure food safety by placing a greater emphasis on prevention, compliance, and enforcement.

We’ve summarized the seven foundational rules of FSMA for you below. The compliance elements which food facility owner/operators, growers, suppliers, importers, consignees, carriers, and/or accreditation/certification bodies should, at a minimum, incorporate into their 2017 actions plans are highlighted in red (information regarding compliance deadlines for different size-based categories of business can be viewed here). Diaz Trade Law has extensive advising clients on FDA matters and welcomes the opportunity to help your company get FSMA compliant.
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Department of Homeland SecurityFoodImport

U.S. Congressional Trade Committee Questions CBP and ICE

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog May 24, 2010 0 comments

On May 20, 2010, the top management of both U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.   Chairman Tanner said the hearing was "to strike the right balance" between trade facilitation and security.  Unfortunately, the Committee heard all about the enforcement success of both ICE and CBP without hearing about the difficulties faced daily by importers and customs brokers.

Chairman Tanner accurately stated:

There has been a growing concern that, in particular, CBP’s modernization of trade functions, facilitation of trade, and enforcement of traditional customs laws have appeared to lag while the agency tightened security screening of passengers and cargo.

ICE was particularly proud of its accomplishments by its National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.  In ongoing Operation Guardian, ICE has interdicted substandard, tainted, or counterfeit products, including food and medicine that pose health and safety risks to American consumers.  $26 million of such condoms, circuit breakers, toys, extension cords, honey, and shrimp were seized by ICE and CBP.

What was not revealed was how many unnecessary delays and expenses were caused by ICE and CBP for the legitimate merchandise that entered or transited the United States.  In order to determine the effectiveness of the targeting programs used by CBP, Congress needs to inquire about the number of detentions and examinations by CBP, and the consequential financial costs to importers.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is also concerned with properly targeted imported food shipments, as indicated in its May 6, 2010 report on "Food Safety".

Does CBP do a good job at targeting imported shipments?

FDA IssuesFoodImport

I am Not Worried That My Food Is “Safe”, Are You?

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog November 10, 2009 2 Comments

The United States Congress is considering legislation to make the food we eat, especially imported food, “safe and secure”.  In my opinion, even if our food needs protecting, the proposed legislation only adds to the current Federal bureaucracy.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has a comprehensive regulatory procedure to stop, examine, and refuse imported food which it considers adulterated or misbranded, or otherwise not fit for human (or animal) consumption.  The current FDA system is working very well, and  the only achievement of the proposed legislation will be to increase the price of food.  We need enforcement of the current laws, not a bunch of new laws.

Granted, there are numerous instances of imported food making people sick, and even causing death.  15% of the food we eat is imported. Nevertheless, the overwhelming number of Americans who get sick or die from consuming food had nothing to do with imported food.  You may get sick at your local restaurant with food poisoning because of the poor handling of the food at the restaurant, not because the food came from overseas.

Currently, for any food to enter the United States, the importer must submit an electronic entry to both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FDA.  The entry information includes the name of the importer, a description of the imported food, the name of its manufacturer, the country of origin, the value, the buyer of the food, and where the food is to be delivered.  The requirements of the Bio-terrorism Act of 2002 require “prior notice” which means that the importer must advise U.S. Customs and the FDA far in advance of the arrival of the food at a border crossing of the United States. The U.S. General Accountability Office just issued a thorough Food Safety Report which has an excellent graphic at page 58-59 describing the imported food procedures.  The Report did state that our food supply is safe, but that U.S. Customs and FDA could do better. 

The Government made significant changes already regarding the traceability of food in the Bioterrorism Act which went into effect in December 2003. It required all foreign companies involved in the manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food that enters the United States to first register with the FDA so that the food may be traced all the way back from the retailer to its source overseas.  Companies may register on-line at www.FDA-USA.com.   

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