Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category


 

The Danger in Altering Phytosanitary Certificates

Phytosanitary CertificateIt has come to the attention of the customs brokerage community that there has been an increased occurrence of alterations being made to Phytosanitary Certificates by persons unknown. Specifically, these alterations are in the form of invalid “Shipper’s Original” stamps being affixed to the certificates. As outlined below, modifying documents in this manner is a very serious offense with staggering repercussions.

What is a Phytosanitary Certificate?

A Phytosanitary Certificate is a legal document issued by the National Plant Protection Organization of the exporting country. It certifies that the indicated commodity is free of pests and meets the regulations of the importing country. The Phytosanitary Certificates that are currently being altered are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for product entering Canada.

What does ‘Shipper’s Original’ mean?

This is a statement that appears on the bottom of the Phytosanitary Certificate in the form of a pre-printed stamp. There are several variations of the certificate depending on whether it has been pre-printed and filled out by hand or computer generated. Regardless, the words “Shipper’s Original” will appear in either red or black ink on the bottom right-hand corner and may show “Part 1 – Shipper’s Original” versus simply stating “Shipper’s Original”.

Acts that Constitute Alterations

Altering a document includes, but is not limited to:

  • Changing information on the document
  • Attaching a PARS sticker to the document
  • Writing over top of the printing to clarify quantities or other information
  • Cutting out portions of one Phytosanitary and attaching them to another

Suspected Cause for Modified Documents

Due to the unfortunate placement of the “Shipper’s Original” statement, it is relatively easy for the stamp to get cut off on a scan or a fax. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will reject the certificate if the “Shipper’s Original” is not visible on the documentation that they receive by fax. We believe that this has led to the unauthorized cutting and pasting of this statement from one Phytosanitary Certificate to another.

While it may be viewed as a way to expedite the import process, intentionally modifying a Phytosanitary Certificate in any way is forgery of a legal document. Original copies of each Phytosanitary Certificate are forwarded to the regional CFIA office by which the goods were released. CFIA and USDA can, and do, conduct internal and external audits of the Phytosanitary process and match original copies to the copies faxed to CFIA at the time of importation. In instances where forgery has been discovered, harsh penalties will be assessed against importers, exporters and/or carriers, depending on who is conducting the investigation.

Repercussions for Modifying Phytosanitary Certificates

It cannot be stressed enough that alterations of any kind to legal documents are forbidden and the repercussions for committing these forgeries are severe. The fine print on the Phytosanitary certificate issues the following warning:

Warning: Any alteration, forgery, or unauthorized use of this phytosanitary certificate is subject to civil penalties of up to $250,000 (7 U.S.C. Section 7734(b)) or punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both (18 U.S.C Section 1001).

These penalties will be assessed in addition to Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties issued by Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In summary, Phytosanitary Certificates are legal documents that are issued by government agencies and it is a criminal offense punishable by law to alter these documents in any way.

For more information on export certification please visit CFIA’s website: Phytosanitary Certificates

 

Have questions about Phytosanitary Certificates? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

Biennial FDA Food Facility Re-registration Now Open

FoodAbout the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) program:

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) improves the registration process by ensuring, among other things, that the FDA has accurate contact information for each facility. The new registration form also includes new categories of foods. These new categories will help FDA rapidly communicate with the right facilities in the event of an emergency.

Food producers and manufacturers have long been required to register with the Food and Drug Administration. Facilities can register online, via mail or fax. If your company is not domestic (not located within the U.S.) you will be required to assign a U.S. agent in your registration. See below for more information on assigning a U.S. agent.

Read more in our blog: Food Modernization Safety Act – Re-Registering your Facility with the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued further information and guidance regarding registration requirements for domestic and foreign manufacturers, processors, packers or holders of food for human or animal consumption based on changes made by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

Biennial registration renewal for food facilities began at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014. The updated food facility registration system is accepting food facility registration renewals.

Who must register?

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA), all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements are required to renew their registration with the FDA before the end of 2014 and to re-register every two years thereafter. This represents a change from the previous registration requirement for food facilities. The re-registration form contains new food categories, and requires more detailed and updated contact information.

 Read more in our blog: U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act – Does It Affect Me?

How to re-register a domestic company?

To submit a registration renewal to FDA, a food facility is required to submit required registration information to FDA, including the additional registration information.

If you are affected by the new regulations, you may re-register your food facility online.

How to re-register if not a domestic company?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers the following services:

  • Act as your U.S. Agent
  • Assist with FSMA re-registration
  • Answer your queries regarding FDA requirements

Note: Pacific Customs Brokers does not have to be your U.S. customs broker in order to assist your company with FSMA re-registration.

 

Contact Pacific Customs Brokers for assistance with food facility registrations or the FSMA. To stay current on this topic, you may also want to subscribe to Pacific Customs Brokers weekly trade newsletter.

 

Do you have questions on the FDA food facility re-registration? Share them in our comments section below.

FDA Releases Updates to FSMA Proposals

Food Safety StampThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a number of new rules during 2013 which have been in various stages of “public comment” for some time. The FDA has recently announced updated proposals to four of the seven rules, based on feedback received from the public.

Four Food Safety Modernization Act Rule Revisions

These four updated proposed rules include:

  1. Produce Safety – More flexible criteria for determining the safety of agricultural water for certain uses and a tiered approach to water testing. A commitment to conduct extensive research on the safe use of raw manure in growing areas and complete a risk assessment.
  2. Preventive Controls for Human Food – Requirements that human food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.
  3. Preventive Controls for Animal Food – Requirements that animal food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.
  4. Foreign Supplier Verification Program – A more comprehensive analysis of potential risks associated with foods and foreign suppliers, and more flexibility for importers in determining appropriate supplier verification measures based on their evaluation of those risk

Modifications to Originally Proposed Rules

Some of the modifications to the originally proposed rules include:

  • Revisions to the water quality testing provisions to account for natural variations in water sources and to adjust its approach to manure and compost used in crop production pending further research.
  • Revised definition of which farms would be subject to the produce safety rule, eliminating farms with $25,000 or less in produce sales from being subject to this rule.
  • Spent grains, which are byproducts of alcohol brewing or distilling, commonly used as animal feed,would not be subject to both the animal food rule if the facility already complies with the human food rule.
  • Extended flexibility to determine appropriate supplier verification measures based on risk and previous experience with suppliers.

Commenting on Proposed Regulations

The FDA states that they will accept comments on the proposed revisions for 75 days, and will continue to review previously submitted comments on parts of the rules that will remain the same in their final iterations.  Final rules are now scheduled to be issued in 2014, and will become final within 90 days of issuance.

We should bear in mind that there are still other proposed rules within the FMSA that are in different stages of completion. These are just four of those issues that we believe are of primary importance to importers and exporters who need to ensure all parties within your supply chain are complying with these rules that are now expected to be in place during 2015.

As food and beverage producers adapt to an array of stringent food safety requirements in the coming year, Pacific Customs Brokers is here to help. We can assist you in understanding these regulations and how they may affect your business, all while cutting through the red tape of importing to the United States.

 

Do you have questions about these updates to FSMA proposals? Use the comments section below to offer your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.

 

Related Blog Article:

 

Additional Resources:

 

Video: Basic Import Requirements for Food Products into Canada

Just because you can buy it, does not mean you can import it. Food products tend to be one of the most misunderstood imports. Our licensed customs broker, Gloria Terhaar, provides an overview of the basic requirements when importing food products into Canada.

 

 

To assist importers in becoming aware of their requirements and implications of regulations involved with importing food products into Canada, Pacific Customs Brokers regularly hosts seminars and webinars. Visit the Trade Compliance Education section of our website to see a list of seminars and webinars currently being offered.

For more information on how Pacific Customs Brokers can help you commercially import food products into Canada, please contact us.

Have questions about importing produce into Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

 

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New Food Safety Regulations That Will Dominate 2014

Stamp: Safe FoodThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a number of new rules during 2013.  Some of these are in the “public comment” period at this time, with conclusions happening during the first and second quarters of 2014.  From there, the FDA will submit final language to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and publication in the Federal Register, and these are expected to become final within 90 days of issuance.

While there are many proposed rules, guidance documents and reports that are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), we list here a few of the primary issues that we believe importers and exporters need to ensure all parties within your supply chain are complying with, rules expected to be in place or in play during 2014.

  1. Sanitary transportation rule for both human and animal food – This will affect shippers, carriers, receivers and other parties involved in food transportation.

Learn more: Sanitation and Transportation Guidance Documents and Regulatory Information

  1. Written food safety plan, which incorporates proof that you are following the plan, to include hazards analysis, preventive controls, monitoring, corrective actions, verifications and record-keeping.

Learn more: FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food

  1. Foreign supplier verification program – Importers will be required to have a program to verify that the food products they are importing are safe, which includes verifying that their suppliers are in compliance with reasonably appropriate risk-based preventive controls.

Learn more: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act – General Information on Imports

As food and beverage producers adapt to an array of stringent food safety requirements in the coming year, Pacific Customs Brokers is here to help. We can assist you in understanding these regulations and how they may affect your business, all while cutting through the red tape of importing to the United States. Take advantage of our upcoming webinar on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulated Goods on May 8, 2014 and refresh your knowledge in the importation of FDA regulated goods.

Do you have questions about these FSMA regulations? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.

 

Additional Resources: