Monthly Archives

March 2012


Becker & Poliakoff Attorney Jennifer Diaz Recognized As OWIT 2011 Member Of The Year

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 28, 2012 1 Comment

The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), with more 2,000 members in 26 affiliate chapters worldwide, has recognized attorney Jennifer Diaz as its 2011 Member of the Year. The Award is presented for outstanding contributions to the organization and strong commitment to advancing women in international trade and business.

The professional association also selected OWIT’s South Florida chapter – of which Ms. Diaz is immediate Past President — as its 2011 Chapter of the Year.

In presenting the prestigious award to Ms. Diaz, OWIT cited her leadership in forging partnerships between her Chapter and prominent South Florida business and professional organizations, and for entering into an MOU with Miami Dade College to assist in developing a new export compliance program. The organization also praised Ms. Diaz’s creation of a social media chair on the Chapter board, an initiative that has resulted in one of the largest OWIT chapter fan bases on Facebook, a thriving LinkedIn presence and an active fan base on Twitter.

Ms. Diaz is the head of Becker & Poliakoff’s Customs & International Trade Practice Group. A Miami native, she graduated from Miami Beach Senior High, University of Miami and Nova Southeastern’s Shepard Broad Law Center. She is an alumnus of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami program and serves on the Boards of the Miami Council for International Visitors and Miami Beach Sister Cities. In 2011, she was named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers magazine.

OWIT’s South Florida Chapter was recognized for its leadership, and helping further the OWIT mission by sharing best practices and fostering education and networking opportunities among global trade professionals. Since hosting the 2007 OWIT Global Conference, the South Florida chapter has gained prominence in the South Florida business community.

Join OWIT International as we honor the recipients of our 2011 Annual Awards.
March 30, 2012 at 12:00 EDT
Register Now
No charge to attend this complimentary webinar.


2012 International Boston Seafood Show

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 12, 2012 0 comments

The annual International Boston Seafood Show is today and tomorrow at the Boston Convention Center.  The Show attracts 19,000 visitors, and is the largest seafood show in North America.  See  I am again lecturing on the Food Safety and Compliance Track with emphasis on the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011: What every food importer and customs broker needs to know – now.

My topic is "Food Safety Compliance under the New Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011."  My fellow panelists discussing the FSMA, and import safety generally, include Ted Poplawski from the FDA, Judith Webster from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Howard Tennen from Quirch Foods, Dean Leaman of ABC Research Laboratories, and Dan Fone of NSF International.  Since 80% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, compliance with the food safety laws and regulations that have now been implemented by the FDA, in cooperation with CBP, is critical.

There were a record number of FDA Import Alerts for seafood in 2011, and a higher number of imported shipments of seafood are now the subject of Detention Without Physical Examination (DWPE). What is surprising to many people is that the seafood is not just being stopped and inspected from China, but also Vietnam, Chile, and Canada, to name a few.  Moreover, seafood fraud in many forms such as species substitution or false country of origin to avoid the payment of anti-dumping duties is now being discovered by the FDA, CBP, and NOAA.  Criminal prosecutions and civil penalties by CBP are now front page news.

Thank you to Diversified Business Communications, based in Portland, Maine, for again inviting me to be a speaker at the Show.  See

By the way, the abundance of free seafood is FABULOUS at the Show!


FDA Administrative Detention of Food… What can you do?

posted by Jennifer Diaz March 9, 2012 1 Comment

Just a few weeks ago, FDA investigators ordered an administrative detention of a Maine company’s cold-smoked salmon product, a ready-to-eat food, during an inspection. Once the food was detained, Mill Stream Corp. agreed to voluntarily destroy the cold-smoked salmon, under FDA supervision, after inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes within the company’s facility and on its processing equipment.

Similarly, in October 2011, U.S. Marshals seized food products held at the food storage and processing facility of Dominguez Foods of Washington, Inc., in Zillah, Wash., where the seized products had first been subject to a detention order issued by FDA, following an FDA inspection of the facility that found evidence of widespread and active rodent and insect infestation in the facility’s warehouse and processing area.


These administrative food detentions are becoming more and more widespread and this trend is not accidental. The January 2011 amendment to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) granted the FDA a far broader authority than in years past to administratively detain foods suspected of adulteration or misbranding.    According to Dara Corrigan, the FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs:

The FDA will not hesitate to take immediate steps to protect the public’s health.  We will aggressively use our enforcement tools to prevent potentially adulterated food from reaching the public.

Previously, the FDA’s ability to administratively detain food products for humans or animals applied only when the agency had credible evidence that the food or feed presented a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. With this expanded administrative detention authority, the FDA is now able to detain food and feed products that it has reason to believe are adulterated or misbranded. An administrative detention may last up to 30 calendar days, if needed, during which time the FDA determines whether an enforcement action is required, such as seizure of products or federal injunction against a firm.

Appealing an administrative detention is an option for claimants who act fast! After receiving the administrative detention order, an owner of perishable foods must file an appeal within two (2) calendar days and the owner of non-perishable foods has four days to file a notice of intent to file an appeal and to request a hearing with the actual appeal due within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of the administrative detention order. A timely appeal filed correctly can result in a quicker termination of the administrative detention and thus, the return of the food article. Furthermore, it grants the owner of the food articles the opportunity to present evidence supporting the legitimacy of the detained food rather than to simply be at the mercy of the inspectors.


For more information, visit the recently published guide entitled “What You Need to Know About Administrative Detention of Foods, available at


As always, if you are unsure, consult with a professional. Failure to appeal an administrative detention of food can result in seizure. Moreover, not only may you lose the food you intended to sell, but also get fined by the U.S. Government.