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The Food and Drug Administration has announced that starting Feb. 20 certificates of free sale for food products regulated by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will be issued online as downloadable PDFs instead of on paper.
COFS are issued for certain CFSAN-regulated food products when requested by an exporter, typically when foreign countries require review of such a certificate as part of the import authorization process. The FDA does not require export certificates to export foods to foreign countries.
According to the FDA, PDF COFS issued directly to the applicant are considered original certificates and can be authenticated by the Department of State. For each PDF COFS the FDA will provide a unique certificate identifier that foreign government officials can use to verify the authenticity of the certificate.
The FDA states that exporters will need to ensure that the printed certificates are clear and legible. Those unable to use the new PDF system may contact the FDA for assistance.
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