Food exports to USA may halt

Exporters need to take heed that continued exports of any food products to the United States will only be possible after 31 December 2012 if the exporter complies with new food safety registration requirements. Failure to do so will lead to such exports being blocked.
The basis of this requirement is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) legislation known as the ‘Food Safety Modernization Act’ (FSMA). This legislation was signed into law by in January 2011 and will enable the FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system.
The impetus for the legislation has its roots in concerns over bio-terrorism and the need to guard against malicious food contamination. The FDA has taken the logical view that any preventive food control standards will improve food safety only to the extent that food producers and food processors comply with them. The FDA is thus going to provide oversight, ensure compliance with requirements and respond effectively when problems emerge, all enabled under the Food Safety Modernization Act. It is interesting to note that each year 1 every in 6 Americans (or just on 50 million people) get sick from food borne diseases, and according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention this is a public health burden that is largely preventable. There are certainly elements of this story that resonate with African conditions.
The bottom line for local exporters is that they need to register with the FDA in order for their exports to retain market access to the USA after the end of 2012. The failure to register the exporting food production or food processing facility is an offence. The implication is that if a foreign food facility fails to register with the FDA, food exported to the USA from that facility will be subject to refusal of entry into the US market.
Facilities currently not registered and facilities already registered, now need to register or re-register (as the case may be) every two years during the window period between 1 October and 31 December in even numbered years. This means that all exporters should register now i.e. before the end of 2012, and then again in 2014, 2016 and so forth.
There is registration process where after the exporter may need to allow a FDA inspector to enter and inspect their facility. No fee is payable for the registration. Exporters that require assistance in securing their future market access to the USA are welcome to contact us for assistance in complying with the registration process. Please do so as soon as possible so as to meet the 31 December 2012 deadline.