New FDA Fees & Small Business Impact

my name is Ben England I'm the founder and CEO of FDA imports calm and Benjamin L England and associates LLC did you know that in the United States most imported food is brought into this country by small businesses FDA has acknowledged this the industry is known at Congress knows that the United States Customs Service Customs and Border Protection knows it in 2003 FDA estimated that about there were about 77 78 thousand companies that were US food importers importers of food in the United States and FDA also knew then and admitted then that most of those food importers were small businesses well that matters it matters because on August the first of two thousand eleven fda issued an announcement that they intend to begin to charge what they call reinspection fees for for the need when it come becomes necessary for FDA to conduct a second inspection or an examination related to either food facilities that have been inspected where there's a problem related to food safety or if they have to reinspect re-examine imported food that we're FDA thinks or believes or fears there might be some problem related to the food safety of that event imported food now these inspection fees have never been charged before companies have been importing food into this country for centuries it's it's it's it's a part of an international trade back these days there's very little food that's manufactured grown entirely the United States that's consumed in this country however beginning october the first 2011 for the first time FDA will begin charging fees at two hundred and twenty four dollars per hour of their time that they have to put into the examination or inspection of records or data related to imported shipments or the actual food itself FDA will begin charging this fee on October the first as a reinspection fee now I understand if FDA had it conducts an inspection of a manufacturer of food and finds a food safety problem and then they have to go back and re inspect it that it makes sense that Congress would require FDA to charge a fee for that second inspection now I get that I also understand that if someone imports food and FDA finds a problem they test it they examine it there's a problem related to food safety and then it gets to be fixed that problem is to be fixed and then FDA has to come back and look at it again I can understand FDA charging a fee for that but the way FDA has defined the word examination or inspection in it some in the Federal Register notice that they published on august first 2011 is so broad that the result is probably as much as eighty percent of food that's ever detained or held up due to some safety concern related to some food safety concern will be probably subject to the fee and that I don't think Congress intended but the result is going to be quite expensive if a if a small business us food importer brings in a shipment of food and FDA has a fear related to food safety either because of where it came from or because of some information they pulled from maybe a third party source not even from inspecting the food FDA can detain that shipment and essentially charge the importer for every hour that the FDA has to spend on that shipment and that should be coming being released to the US market so if FDA spends about four hours maybe four hours on a two or three week time period in order to evaluate data and eventually release the food the importer is going to pay about a thousand dollars that's a thousand dollars the importer never had to pay before the importer most likely is not even aware of the fact that they're going to be subject to the food because the publication of this information has been so poorly done most people are not even aware of it so the importer is going to receive an invoice from the federal government saying us OS a thousand dollars and FDA is going to believe it has a statutory obligation to collect and that's one thousand dollars that the importer probably doesn't have laying around and if they had three or four or five shipments come in over this over a period of a month that's going to be three or four or five thousand dollars assuming it only takes FDA four hours to do each one which is probably not likely so that's money that the importers are not going to have and they're going to pass that on to the US consumer which is going to essentially drive up the cost of food in the United States so what do you do about this information we have clients that are us food importers we have clients that are foreign food manufacturers that that sometimes have have issues with FDA da has some concerns with respect to the safety of the food that they're either importing or manufacturing and so we work with them in order to bring FDA around to a position where they agree with us at the foods in fact safe well doing that after October one is going to cost more money because FDA is going to charge more money to go through that process so we're encouraging our clients to go through their systems go through all their records and ensure that FDA there's no information they have that FDA has concerned about their product there's no import alert out there about their foreign facility FDA hasn't recently collected and food and found a problem get those situations fixed before october the first 2011 that's the date these fees go into effect and after that is going to become more expensive to fix the problem because the government is going to charge money in order to go over that data so thanks very much for listening please feel free to come to the website you'll find more information about the fees and also about ways that food companies can can correct concerns that FDA might have with respect to the product the website is FDA imports calm and thank you very much

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