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US regulator raises concern over Ja food labels

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

The importance of labeling as a key component on the packaging of all food items (fresh and processed) entering the United States market was brought into sharp focus

during a recent workshop hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Agency for International Development.

Participants in a two-day workshop held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St Andrew were surprised to learn that improper/inadequate labelling was the top reason cited by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for refusing to allow such products into the country over the five-year period 2010-2014.

The workshop formed part of a series of activities being executed by the three agencies to get exporters in the region up to speed with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and associated proposed regulations that affect products exported to the US.

In a PowerPoint presentation conducted by FDA officials based in Costa Rica, it was revealed that 45 of the items, or a whopping 44.5 per cent, were denied entry because of labels that were not up to standard.

This was well ahead of the 18 products rejected because of 'ingredients not permitted' or the 16 not allowed in because of pesticide residue.