Check out the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s comment to the FDA on the proposed rule for the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. From those comments, a few excerpts:
It is critical when promulgating FSVP requirements to ensure that the importers’ foreign suppliers are producing in compliance with processes and procedures that provide at least the same level of public health protection as those processes and procedures required of domestic suppliers. The rules on domestically produced items must be applied in the same manner as rules on imported items covered under the FSVP rules. If this is not achieved, the FSMA rules could be considered as constituting a trade barrier that may then be open to a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge.
Increased federal standards will place United States producers at a competitive disadvantage with foreign producers if the same standards are not aggressively enforced on imports. The same standards and exemptions for domestic produce must also be extended to imported produce in order to comply with WTO rules.
The proposed regulatory exception based solely on size for growers with farm sales of $25,000 per year or less in the produce safety rule would be particularly relevant when applied to foreign suppliers. While we believe that few, if any, domestic growers would qualify for this exemption, its consequences for imports are dramatic.
The amount of farm production required to reach the equivalent of $25,000 (U.S.) is vastly different in numerous foreign countries, many of which are serious produce exporters to the United States. In its comments, AFBF cited the example of Chinese apple production, which leads the world, but is the product of many small farms, several of which make less than $25,000 (U.S.) per year.
Under the small farm exemptions in the proposed rule, the vast majority of apples imported from China would be exempt from the proposed rule, putting United States producers at a significant competitive disadvantage in their own domestic markets, creating a widely divergent and unpredictable level of food safety regulation for United Staes consumers. In many cases, inclusion of this exemption in its current form will mislead the consuming public on the actual degree to which imported food products have been subjected to the regulations’ food safety protocols.