Electronic certification streamlines feed exports

Electronic certification streamlines feed exports

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FDA’s new electronic certification system solves decade-old problem for exports, AFIA says

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s (FDA) new electronic certification process for Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) and other certificates should result in greater exports of U.S. feed and animal products, according to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA).

In June, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) announced it was rolling out a new online system to enable manufacturers to apply for, track and provide proof of key export certificates electronically. The new Export Certification Application and Tracking System, or eCATS,  supports applications for Certificates of Exportability, Certificates to Foreign Government, Certificates of Free Sale, Certificates of a Pharmaceutical Product, and Current Good Manufacturing Practice Certificates.

“Our new electronic export certification application system will help U.S. animal food, drug and device manufacturers facilitate export of their products, as well as enable foreign governments to verify the authenticity of U.S. export certificates for FDA-regulated animal products,” Steven Solomon, CVM director, said in a statement.

The FDA launched the online portal to reduce the amount of time required to obtain export certificates. In addition to streamlining the application process, it includes a tracking system that enables foreign governments to verify that exported products meet U.S. regulatory standards.

But for the animal feed industry, the online system comes with an additional benefit: making CGMP available to manufacturers throughout the U.S. for the first time.

“In the past, only a dozen states had processes in place to issue GMP certificates, so only manufacturers operating in those states could export their products to Brazil,” said Gina Tumbarello, director of international policy and trade for AFIA. “Now, manufacturers in all 50 states have access to this process.”

This solves an problem that has prevented some feed manufacturers from exporting their products to Brazil for more than 10 years, Tumbarello said. It may also prevent future problems, as other nations, including Mexico, consider requiring CGMP certification for exports originating in the U.S.

“Without this new program from the FDA, over $1.6 billion in exports of animal food would be at risk,” Tumbarello said.