2002N-0278 - Small Entity Compliance Guides on Registration of Food Facilities and Prior Notice of Imported Food; Availability
FDA Comment Number : EC393
Submitter : Mr. John Streker Date & Time: 04/19/2004 03:04:23
Organization : Affiliated Customs Brokers
Private Industry
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
The BTA has caused more harm to trade, than good. Problems continue to grow and multiply, but good communication from the FDA has been lacking.
As an active Customs Broker, facilitating the movement of goods across the US/CA Border, we are seeing many of these problems firsthand. The greatest being non-uniform enforcement of the BTA requirements. Different FDA locations seek more information than the BTA regulations or systems can process, holding up shipments that move freely at other border crossing locations. For example, a shipment of frozen french fries calls for one HTS number and one Product Code number, and while quantities must be reported, some locations request a breakdown of fry styles (steak v. crinkle v. shoestring) while other locations do not. A breakdown of red v. green cabbage has also suffered this inconsistency. Brokers and shippers are doing what they can to supply the necessary data to the FDA in advance, but the existing systems can only do so much, and these requests for greater detail are not supported in the existing infrastructure, so the FDA requests are virtually impossible to supply in ABI or online. Why one location would seek this information, while another would not makes everyone involved suffer?
Also, some international carriers are making shippers responsible for PN, when they are not shipping goods into the US, causing some concern. For example, a shipper contracts a carrier to move goods from Montreal to Munich. The carrier moves the goods from Montreal through their hub in Memphis, but makes the shipper responsible for the PN. The lack of concern on the carrier?s part, for a shipment contracted to places outside of the US is causing unforeseen international repercussions.
Also, the many in-bond shipments are causing major concerns, requiring PN for shipments just transiting the US, is changing the pattern of trade. Some Canadian businesses are being threatened with closure because they are being subject to US Laws, for shipments not destined to US addresses.
More communication and cooperation between the FDA and the trade is necessary to get this program operating properly. The trade would gladly work with FDA to make it work, but they are not being included in any important facets of the rollout, except to be non-uniformly told what to do by the different enforcement locations.