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FDA News: Food Export Certificates, Import Alerts

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Food Export Certificates Get Improvements

The Food and Drug Administration announced June 22 improvements to the functionality and appearance of two types of export certificates issued for human food products. Beginning June 29, the "Certificate to a Foreign Government" and "Certificate of Exportability" for human food products will include a unique QR code to allow easier verification of the authenticity of these certificates. The FDA states that this added security measure means that anyone who receives a certificate from a U.S. exporter can scan the QR code and see a copy of the certificate as issued by the FDA.

The FDA is also updating the format of these certificates to streamline the display of certificate data.

Review of a certificate may be required by foreign countries as part of the process to import a product into those countries. The FDA therefore issues certain export certificates for some regulated food products upon request from industry but does not require export certificates to export foods to foreign countries.

Import Alerts on Foods, Drugs, and Medical Devices

Food and Drug Administration import alerts on the following have been modified in the past week.

- food products that appear to be misbranded

- juice from foreign processors not in compliance with juice HACCP regulation

- papaya from Mexico

- frog legs

- mahi mahi

- fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico

- medical instruments from Pakistan

- raw and cooked shrimp from India

- soft cheese and soft ripened cheese from France

For more information on import alerts and other FDA issues, please contact Domenic Veneziano at (202) 734-3939.

Importers of FDA-regulated goods are responsible for ensuring that such imports are in compliance with FDA laws and regulations. Before shipping into the U.S., importers should be aware of whether or not their product is listed on an import alert.

Import alerts inform FDA field staff that the agency has enough evidence or other information to allow a product that appears to be in violation of FDA laws and regulations to be detained without physical examination at the time of entry. Import alerts may cover products from designated countries or areas (including from all foreign countries), manufacturers, or shippers.

Firms and/or products on the “red list” of an import alert are subject to DWPE, while firms and/or products on the “green list” are not because they have met the criteria for exclusion. Some import alerts include a “yellow list” of firms, products, and/or countries subject to intensified surveillance because the nature of the violations may warrant further field examinations of individual entries and/or additional analyses. In addition, depending on the specific import alert, shipments of products subject to DWPE may still be imported into the U.S. if the importer has demonstrated that the shipment is in compliance.

If a product is detained without physical examination the importer has the right to provide evidence to the FDA in an attempt to overcome the appearance of the violation. If no such evidence is submitted, or if the evidence provided is insufficient, the product will be subject to refusal of entry into the U.S.

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