October 1, 2020
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enable the agencies to take a concerted, modern approach to support the export of U.S. milk and milk products worldwide.
The United States exports $6 billion worth of milk and milk products annually. In their respective roles of food safety, marketing and trade facilitation, FDA and USDA have complimentary programs to support the exportation of these products from the United States. Increasingly, U.S. dairy exporters face challenges in the global marketplace from trade partners requiring additional information and assurances. This has resulted in the need for an increased level of coordination by regulators to help address requests and to facilitate trade of safe and wholesome products from the U.S.
This MOU outlines an effective and efficient framework to leverage the collective strengths of FDA and USDA.
The FDA is responsible for ensuring that milk and milk products are safe and wholesome as labeled through enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). This is accomplished, in part, by inspecting the production, processing, and distribution of foods and examining samples to ensure compliance with the FDA’s statutory requirements. In addition, the FDA engages with international regulators and stakeholders regarding the safety of U.S. milk and milk products. The FDA will continue in its role as competent authority, engaging directly with foreign authorities as needed on food safety matters, and providing oversight to more than 6,000 firms that produce dairy products.
The USDA, through its dairy grading service, is the lead agency on issuing dairy sanitary certificates, coordinating interagency collaboration related to U.S. exports of milk and milk products, and negotiating with foreign countries on certifications to meet their importing requirements.
Through this MOU, the FDA and USDA remain committed to facilitating the efficient exporting of milk and milk products.
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