Food Importers and Foreign Manufactures are in for a Surprise

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According to Benjamin England, Founder and CEO of FDAImports.com, food importers and foreign manufacturers are in for a surprise starting October 1, 2011 when they receive a bill from FDA for re-inspecting their food shipments. When Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, no one expected the little provision tucked within it requiring FDA to collect a fee for the costs associated with re-inspecting imported foods would be expanded so broadly by FDA. FDA has interpreted this requirement expansively and explained its thinking in a little-publicized August 1 Federal Register notice announcing the new fees associated with imported food shipments.

Benjamin England, Founder and CEO of FDAImports.com, observed the FR notice and is currently launching a coalition of interested manufacturers and food importers to challenge FDA’s interpretation in this regard.

These fees will simply cripple the food industry, which will have no choice but to pass the costs onto consumers who can scarcely afford to pay any more for food. In essence, this is an imported food tax masquerading as a fee. The time to do something is now. Everyone is just starting to hear about this new tax even though we are barely a month away from it going into effect. Most importers and manufacturers have no idea this is coming.

When FDA issued the Federal Register notice, it invited comments about the re-inspection fees, which it will accept until October 31. Noticeably, the fees will go into effect 30 days before the comment period has closed.

Mr. England is working with food industry members to officially comment on these fees and explain their heavy burden on importers’ businesses. Food importers and manufacturers that will be adversely affected by FDA’s new re-examination fee structure should visit FDAImports.com’s coalition and comments page to learn more about the coalition’s goals.

Benjamin L. England is a former 17-year veteran of the FDA and served as the Regulatory Counsel to the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Currently he is founder and CEO of FDAImports.com, LLC, a firm of consultants and affiliated attorneys routinely seeking removal of foreign manufacturers from FDA import alerts.

Posted By: Ashley Nicole 9/6/2011