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United States of America

4.2 Food Safety

The most important players in the US market with  respect  to  food  safety  are  the  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) which falls under the USDA. The USDA and the FSIS regulate most imports of meat, poultry, and some egg products into the US (World Trade Organisation  ,  2010  ).  The  FDA  on  the  other hand regulates imports of all other foods for human consumption, The entities mentioned previously  govern  food  safety  at  the  federal level, however, each State is permitted to establish its own measures. For more information on the USDA, FDA and FSIS respectively, see:

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdaho me?navid=FOOD_SAFETY.

http://www.fda.gov/

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/index.asp

In order to export to the US, it is important that producers consider implementing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems   which   agencies   such   as   the   FSIS consider to be "optimal framework for building science-based process control to prevent food safety hazards into food production systems" (World Trade Organisation , 2010 ). Only meat, poultry,  and  egg  products  from  facilities certified by the FSIS-recognized competent authority  of  the  foreign  country  can  be imported into the United States and in this vein, in May 2009, the FSIS advised importers that imported food products containing small amounts of meat, poultry or processed egg products, must obtain  these  ingredients  from an approved source.

Two important pieces of legislation governing food safety in the US are the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act) and the Food Safety Modernisation Act of 2011. Under the Bioterrorism Act, the following are applicable:

(i)  The FDA must receive advance notice of shipments of imported food (other than meat,   poultry,   and   eggs) into the United States.  This can be done online through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI), the Automated Commercial System (ACS), or the FDA's Prior Notice System Interface.

(ii) All    domestic    and    foreign facilities that manufacture, process,  pack,  and  hold food for consumption in the United States must register with the FDA.  A number of entities are exempted from this rule, including:  farms, restaurants, retail food establishments and fishing vessels.  Registration can be done online or by letter.

Additional information on the Bioterrorism Act can be obtained at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/legisl ation/ucm148797.htm.

Under the Food Safety Modernisation Act, the following are applicable to producers:

(i)   Companies that currently register with the FDA (as required by the Bioterrorism Act) must perform an analysis of food safety hazards that are likely to occur in their facility, implement  controls  to  prevent these hazards and monitor these controls. On the face of it, this appears to make HACCP compliance mandatory.

(ii) Producers are required to share their food safety plans with the FDA on request.

(iii) The    food    safety    plan    has    to    be documented   and   updated   every two years or prior in the event that the producer changes suppliers, processes or producers.

(iv) The FDA will increase its inspection of foreign facilities and has the power to block products from facilities or countries  that  deny  FDA inspections.

The FDA has provided more information on the

Food Safety Modernisation Act at:

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/fsma/defaul t.htm

Under the Food Safety Modernisation Act, the following are applicable to producers:

(i)   Companies that currently register with the FDA (as required by the Bioterrorism Act) must perform an analysis of food safety hazards that are likely to occur in their facility, implement  controls  to  prevent these hazards and monitor these controls. On the face of it, this appears to make HACCP compliance mandatory.

(ii) Producers are required to share their food safety plans with the FDA on request.

(iii) The    food    safety    plan    has    to    be documented   and   updated   every two years or prior in the event that the producer changes suppliers, processes or producers.

(iv) The FDA will increase its inspection of foreign facilities and has the power to block products from facilities or countries  that  deny  FDA inspections.

The FDA has provided more information on the Food Safety Modernisation Act at:

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/fsma/default.htm