VCN – Affirming that Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of USA would not affect to export seafood of Vietnamese enterprises but Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Procedures (VASEP) noticed that enterprises should extend registration for avoiding interruption.
|Processing seafood for exporting. Photo: T.H|
According to information from VASEP, FSMA was issued on 4/1/2011 with the goal of ensuring safe food supply for Americans by moving from the responding to the risk mechanism to monitoring the measures to prevent risks caused by production enterprises forced to self-establishment. At the same time, requesting enterprises to register production facilities and representatives for their company in the US with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the FSMA, food processing manufacture, packaging or food storage, including beverages and supplementary foods, must be registered with the FDA for granting code. This registration can be made online and won’t take the cost of the business. Enterprises must renew their registration and agree to the FDA's inspection in every two years/time (from 1/10 to 31/12 of that year). In addition, for foreign manufacturing facilities, they must appoint to the FDA by their representative in US.
A representative in US could be a person, a company or an agency based in the United States acting as a local contact person, maintaining smooth communication with the FDA on 24/24. At the same time, they must answer the FDA question regarding the manufacture of export production and export goods within 24 hours of receiving the FDA request. They will also be responsible for paying all the costs to FDA that involved in inspecting manufacture for export production done by FDA.
The FSMA also request for the case that companies do not renew, will result in invalid code and exported goods will not allow exporting to US market.
Imported seafood accounts for a large proportion of US consumed food which made it become one of the most affected foods by the new FSMA rules.
However, in fact, the requirements for enterprises to transform from a response mechanism to the FSMA Prevention Mechanism are only a part of the requirements of quality management system under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), the system that is have been used for many years by seafood processing enterprises in Vietnam. Therefore, Vietnamese seafood enterprises have no difficulty in meeting the requirements.
Regarding the requirement for manufacturer registration and representatives in the United States, the cases that companies have lost FDA registration number is mainly caused by Vietnam export enterprises. The reason is that they do not know this new regulation hence they do not renew for annual registration of 2 years/time. Moreover, they don’t have a representative or authorized 3rd party in the United States, or the representatives in the United States cannot control daily information which leads to a late response to FDA in the prescribed time.
As a major seafood export market of Vietnam for many years, Vietnamese seafood companies have understood comprehensively all the procedures to register production facilities and send representatives in the United States to work with the FDA. Most of the cases that lost FDA registration codes are non-fisheries businesses.
In fact, the FSMA came into effect does not affect seriously to Vietnam seafood enterprises due to a long history in exporting seafood to the US. At the same time, the quality management system of Vietnam seafood enterprises has pioneered the application of HACCP in Vietnam and has been accepted by many advanced markets in the world such as EU, South Korea, USA, Australia, etc.
By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy