FDA: Importers must vouch for safety of food brought to US

fdalogoUnder the US Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed regulations, US food importers for the first time must ensure that imported food for humans and animal is as safe as domestically produced food.

Promulgated under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the rules, if adopted, would set parameters for foreign supplier verification programs (FSVPs) that importers must create and follow to safeguard the nation’s food supply.  The proposed rules also call for an accreditation program for third-party auditors of imported food.

According to last week’s FDA press release,

[t]he new measures respond to the challenges of food safety in today’s global food system.  Imported food comes into the United States from about 150 different countries and accounts for about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply, including about 50 percent of the fresh fruits and 20 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.

If food importers fail to comply with the new rules, they are subject to entry and/or eligibility denials to participate in FDA’s voluntary qualified importer program (VQIP) for expedited review and entry of food, which is currently in development.  The public comment period on the proposed rules closes on November 26.





What actual users are saying about the benefits of ACE


As published in US Customs’ June 2013 “ACEopedia”, real users are talking about the tangible, significant economic benefits they now realize by using ACE for trade processing:

  • “This system makes it more secure to transfer goods. We can track what is in the shipment, where it is now, and where it is going. Drivers, no longer waiting a day for their shipment to arrive, can get on the road, and businesses are thrilled not to have to pay for their accommodations during layovers anymore. Fast delivery leads to fresher produce, which is the major import from the southern border, and quick arrival to markets leads to better business and buyer gratification.” –  Jose Santana, President, J.D. Transport
  • “I use the reports feature extensively. It is extremely valuable to us. I am able to view the value for each of the Importer of Record numbers and the number of imports. The individual importers can see the number of compliance reviews by CBP and the compliance rate, including the reason for discrepancies, even down to the port level.”  Don Huber, Customs Manager, GE
  • “If the cash flow advantage alone in not enough to entice importers to take advantage of the ACE Secure Data Portal, access to payment information and reporting tools is a signification bonus for importers who have no on-line access to import data stored within the Automated Commercial System (ACS).”  Ronald Schoof, Global Trade Compliance Manager, Caterpillar Inc.
  • “Drivers are saving on average three to four hours per day, per driver, which increases their overall earnings.”  Bart Smith, President, Olmstead Transportation
  • “The e-Manifest process offers faster, more predictable processing of shipments. We’ve been processing e-Manifests with 100 percent success. The drivers really like the system and the time it saves them.”  Jevon Jamieson, ABF Freight System Inc.
  • “We’ve benefited from ACE Periodic Payment, which streamlines the flow of goods by eliminating the need to pay duties and taxes on a transaction-by-transaction basis.”  Eric Dalby, Global Trade Services Specialist, Kellwood Global NY 

New ISF enforcement procedures for Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach


As part of US Customs’ stepped-up enforcement of liquidated damages for ISF violations, officials at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport have announced new enhanced enforcement measures particular to that port complex.

Specifically, in light of “continued non-compliance with ISF requirements,”

[b]eginning July 15, 2013, CBP [at the LA/LB Seaport] will make use of newly activated cargo holds in [ACE] to address non-compliance with the ISF rule.  CBP will hold non-compliant ISF shipments at the terminal until the required ISF is filed.  Once the ISF data is received and a security assessment is made, additional enforcement actions including Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) and/or intrusive exams may be initiated.  CBP may also assess liquidated damages of up to $5,000 per violations as warranted.

Importers may notice that this is a departure from CBP’s past practice for situations where no ISF was on file; in those cases, Customs would typically order a Non-Intrusive Exam (e.g., x-ray) and/or an Intrusive Exam (e.g., physical exam at a CES), and, in most instances, would then remove the hold and allow the shipment to proceed.

Now, the shipment will be held, and no action will be taken, until an ISF is filed.  If an importer receives notice that its shipment is being held, a manifest query should be run in order to determine the reason for the hold, which could possibly be no record of an ISF filing.

For more information, including the new ACE cargo hold codes, please see the attached Public Bulletin on LA&LB ISF Enforcement Procedures.


Machinery importers — check out webinar on new CEE

machineryUS Customs has announced a free webinar that promises an “interactive discussion” about the new Machinery Center of Excellence & Expertise, one of the new CEEs established this year.  The webinar, set for July 24 at 2 PM, EDT, will discuss “ways your business can interact and transact through the Center.”  Register here.

According to CBP’s April 30 press release, the Laredo, Texas-based Machinery CEE was established “to provide consistency and uniformity to the processing of machinery imports at the nation’s 329 ports of entry while providing one-stop processing and accessibility to our trade stakeholders.”  Laredo was chosen as the site for the Machinery CEE since it is the top port by volume for machinery imports in the U.S.

Sound off: How effective are CBP’s trade facilitation efforts?

surveyCOAC, the Advisory Committee on the Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection, wants to know how successful US Customs’ trade facilitation efforts are at lowering the trade’s cost and burden of doing business.  To that end, COAC has posted the next installment of its annual survey, seeking responses from both importers and import service providers on current, planned and future CBP facilitation efforts.

As a result of the highly successful 2012 survey, CBP was able to proceed with the following achievements:

  • Establish a working group to analyze CBP’s current partnership programs based on survey feedback.
  • Begin work on establishing Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) metrics – including a customer satisfaction survey and the pursuit of academic studies on the CEEs.

COAC will tally the trade efficiency survey results by respondent type and industry type, and make recommendations to US Customs for future efforts.

The survey can be found here.  All responses will be kept anonymous.  Last day to respond is Tuesday, July 23.