U.S., Mexico consider screening produce before border - The Packer

U.S., Mexico consider screening produce before border

11/28/2012 03:41:00 PM
Andy Nelson

To expedite imports, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is in talks with Mexican officials to screen some fresh produce and other agricultural commodities in Mexico instead of at the U.S. border.

A pre-screening facility in Mexico, near the Otay Mesa port of entry, has already been built for the project, said Joanne Ferreira, a CBP spokeswoman.

The first phase of the project would be a pilot only, Ferreira said. A timeline for when it could begin has not been established, she said.

Even if the pre-screening facility in Mexico is used, CBP would retain the authority to inspect cargo at the port of entry, Ferreira said.

The pilot is part of CBP’s 21st Century Border Management Initiative, designed to more efficiently process the increasing volume of trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

John McClung mugMcClungMuch about the project remains up in the air, said John McClung, president of the Mission-based Texas International Produce Association.

“They’ve been talking about this program for quite some time, but it’s not at all clear to me just what the impact will be,” McClung said. “There’s a vetting process by company, and we don’t know how long that will take. Nor do we know how many points in Mexico will have inspectors, or what their authority will be — FDA? APHIS? CBP?”

That said, McClung is pleased that the U.S. and Mexican governments are making the effort.

“We support any federal effort to expedite the movement of produce across the border, and we recognize the governments are well aware of the congestion problem and are trying to do something about it.”

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Jimmy Hardy    
Aiken, SC  |  November, 29, 2012 at 09:56 AM

UNBELIEVABLE anyone that would believe that's a good idea, is not interest in food safety, you are right about speeding up the process of border crossings, knowing that below the border payoffs are the standard of doing business, inspected trucks would arrive twice as fast at the border

California  |  November, 29, 2012 at 10:54 AM

It all depends on who is doing the inspection. As the inspection is for produce entering the U.S. I would expect that it would be U.S. agents, either from APHIS or U.S. CBP. This would reduce the chances of bribery. Also,I would expect that the inspection facilities would be within a mile or so of the actual border crossing. I would guess that after inspection, A U.S. Agency seal would be put on the trailer doors. There is a lot still to be determined, but this could conceivably reduce congestion at the crossing points.

FL  |  November, 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Wow. A facility allready there, now push it like it is a new idea? These drug shippers put their weirs in fake fruit, fish, and god know what else. Now you will trust these people to do thier job without taking graft. If it is manned by Us personnel, they are putting their live online to travel there and back, and who is to say they will not be blackmailed or threatened to look the other way, and lastly they will probably still screen it at the border anyway? More of our government at work! Are we not trying to streamline things to cut cost?

Edinburg, Tx.  |  November, 29, 2012 at 01:26 PM

It is also very important to make the Mexican and US authorities install or prepare their facilities, the actual and if plan to open another one, to make the inspections at the border (US or Mexican customs) or at the military retains in Mexico according to the needs of the USDA, there is no point in having a packing facility in Mexico with high packing standards, all sealed or very good quality fruit, if at the Mexican border they unload the fruit for hours in an open shed and they step in on the truck or in the fruit and when it arrives at the USDA inspection they find insects know or unknown (which is another issue) that might have been infected at the Mexican or at the same US customs, not in our facilities in Mexico. If we have all of our facilities sealed, follow the procedures for cleaning the trucks, the people, etc., etc.,, how come the trucks at the end become full of insects,, well if they unload or review the fruit at those same open sheds for hours, it is very possible that they are infecting with insects our trucks or allowing the insects to get in the truck. Also, the lack of laboratories that have all the resources to identify the insects is very important, not to send them over to Washington and last 4 or 5 days with the fruit on hold until they get the results, it is another problem, they are only causing tremendous costs, making the importers and packers loose money, delaying sales and making the economy even slower. If they are going to check the fruit, fine, no problem it is a procedure that needs to be followed, just all the authorities need to make it up to the needed standards with closed facilities and fast results. Thanks, Mayra

Immokalee, FL.  |  November, 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM

It's like handing the KEYS to the Gates, over to the Immates!

Guy Goodine    
Maine  |  November, 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

are you kidding me Mexican officials? Mexican Border checks ? Mexican drug cartels? The United States has enough problems with drugs coming into this country can you imagine tractor trailer loads of????? being inspected in Mexico and allowed to drive straight through please reconsider

Hector Chaparro    
December, 03, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Well there would be any drug traficking if your contry would stop consuming them, dont blame other people or countries just because you cant fix your issues

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