Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CBP Brings Seizure & Forfeiture Notices to the 21st Century

Co Authored by Michael DeBiase
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has published a final rule (the “Rule”) providing CBP with the ability to publish seizure and forfeiture notices on the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) forfeiture website. CBP believes that such notices will reach a broader range of the public, at less cost, than the current local print publications or customhouse postings.
You know what? CBP is right, and kudos to them for this added efficiency that goes into effect on February 28 of this year.
Pursuant to the Rule, CBP will post all seizure and forfeiture notices for thirty (30) consecutive days on the DOJ’s site. Thereafter, CBP may still publish notice in print form when it deems such additional outreach appropriate.
The beauty of the Rule is that it provides a vehicle by which both the government and the party interested in the seized goods to share in the greater efficiency, streamlined procedures, and reduction in costs offered by giving electronic notice. This will also make it easier for the interested parties to assert claims for the seized property.
This is a change that needed to happen, and although the process and site will surely experience “growing pains”, the efficiency and cost savings should prove well worth it.
If you do receive a seizure notice, remember, you must file a Petition within 30 days of the seizure notice or, if seeking judicial review of the seizure, file a claim and cost bond equal to 10% of the value of the seized merchandise, up to a maximum of $5,000.
For a summary of the seizure process, review our blog "U.S. Customs Seized My Merchandise, Now What?"
We leave you with our top 3 tips:
  1. Perform Pre-Compliance PRIOR to importing merchandise into the U.S. Assure the merchandise you will import is compliant with applicable laws/regulations.
  2. If CBP detains your products, contact a knowledgeable customs attorney or customs broker to actively demonstrate that there is no violation. Getting the case resolved in the detention phase is essential. Otherwise, the seizure case will be much more costly and timely.
  3. If CBP seizes your products, make sure your customs attorney knows the policies, procedures, and practices of CBP to effectively pursue the release of the merchandise.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Significant New Food Safety Rules are Coming

The FDA has proposed two new rules issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that is part of a broader effort to prevent food borne illness and ensure the safety of imported and domestically produced foods. If you want your voice heard, you have until May 16, 2013 to submit your comments to the FDA on the proposed rule. The FDA does take comments seriously, we're here to help if you want assistance in drafting your comments. This rule is expected to be published shortly following the conclusion of the comment period on May 16, 2013.

 The proposed rules would apply to facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold human food. The rules focus on commonly identified routes of microbial contamination of produce, including:
(1) agricultural water
(2) farm worker hygiene
(3) manure and other additions to the soil
(4) animals in growing areas, and
(5) equipment, tools and buildings.
In general the facilities that are required to register include manufacturers, processors, warehouses, storage tanks, and grain elevators. However, there are a number of exemptions and modified requirements. We would be pleased to assist you in determining whether or not your facility may be exempt from these requirements.
Below is a recap of the proposed rules.
Rule #1 - Preventative Controls for Human Food. The rule proposes firms have written plans in place to identify potential hazards, put in place steps to address them, verify that the steps are working, and outline how to correct any problems that arise. The rule proposes each covered facility to prepare and implement a written food safety plan, which would include the following:
  • hazard analysis;
  • risk based preventive controls;
  • monitoring procedures;
  • corrective actions;
  • verification; and
  • recordkeeping
Do you have your written plan in place yet?
Rule #2 - Produce Safety. The second rule proposes enforceable science- and risk-based safety standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fruits and vegetables on foreign and domestic farms. These standards include requirements addressing major areas specific to agriculture that can be the conduit for contaminants:
  • Irrigation and other agricultural water
  • Farm worker hygiene
  • Manure and other additions to the soil
  • Intrusion of animals in the growing fields.
  • Sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools
The proposed rule also includes additional provisions applicable to the growing, harvesting and packing of sprouts, which are more vulnerable in their growing environment to harmful bacteria.
The rules still to come are:
  • Foreign Supplier Verification for Importers: This program will require importers to verify that foreign suppliers are following procedures that provide the same level of health protection as that required of domestic food producers. About 15 percent of the food consumed in the U.S. is imported, including about 49 percent of fresh fruit and 21 percent of vegetables.
  • Accredited Third Party Certification: The accreditation of third-party auditors would help ensure that food producers in other countries comply with U.S. food safety laws.
  • Preventive Controls for Animal Food: This is the implementation of preventive controls at animal food facilities that are similar to those proposed for human food.
As FDA implements more of FSMA, we will keep you informed.
Do you need assistance in submitting a comment to FDA? Does your company need training on FSMA? If so, contact me anytime.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Careers for Women in Transportation

"Be Bold! Women in Transportation" will feature prominent women in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management industry. The purpose of the event is to inform about career opportunities and attract women and minorities to the transportation industry.
I'm thrilled to moderate this event where you'll hear from top notch keynote speakers, Michelle Livingstone, VP of Supply Chain/Transportation at The Home Depot and Natalie Putnam, VP of Marketing at Ryder.
Join us to learn answers to the following questions (and MUCH more): 
  1. Why aren't more women choosing Supply Chain/Transportation as a career?
  2. How will jobs in Supply Chain/Transportation evolve over the next few years?
  3. What does the logistics function look like within a manufacturing/distribution business?
  4. How have energy prices affected the Transportation Industry?
  5. What impact does the changing demographics of the US have on opportunities for women in the supply chain field?
  6. What is the role of sales and marketing in supply chain, logistics and transportation?
  7. What is changing in business culture and what do companies need to do to acquire talent?
  8. What are the skills needed to be successful in the field of logistics today?
  9. Why is a career in supply chain a good choice?

  The cost of luncheon is $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Click HERE to register.
For more information contact Jorge Guerra.