COSTA RICA exporters eye new U.S. food safety law
Posted: October 23rd, 2011 - 11:55pm
Source: Tico Times
For the first time, Costa Rican growers and producers will need food safety systems in place that comply with the strict U.S. requirements established in the Food Safety Modernization Act, in order to export food to the U.S.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people in the U.S., or one in six, get sick each year from foodborne illnesses. Of those, 128,000 require hospitalization, and 3,000 die.
In an effort to keep the U.S. food supply safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shifted the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination episodes to preventing them. The new law was signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4, and assigns the responsibility of keeping food safe to growers, manufacturers, distributors and importers.
Imports account for 15 percent of food consumed in the U.S., according to the FDA’s website. The number is higher for seafood (75 percent), vegetables (20 percent) and fruits (50 percent).
Agricultural products from Costa Rica accounted for $1.3 billion of U.S. imports in 2010, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Of that number, fresh fruit (excluding bananas) represented $460 million, bananas and plantains accounted for $343 million and coffee totaled $159 million.