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FDA delays implementing food import re-examination fees

After critical assessments from a coalition established by LLC, the US Food and Drug Administration announced it will not initiate the new food import re-examination fee program until some "issues" with the program are resolved.

According to Benjamin England, founder and CEO of LLC, and its newly established Food Importers and Foreign Food Manufacturer’s Coalition Task Force, these actions represent a major initial victory for small food businesses and food importers. England’s firm, LLC, launched the coalition after he says he observed that food importers and manufacturers were unaware of the new fees and were unprepared to take action against them.

“This is a step in the right direction and clear evidence that we have FDA’s attention,” said England. “The language FDA is using to discuss the fees and timeline is an indication that they’re getting pushback, that the industry is serious about fighting this.”

On its website, FDA provides a question and answer section regarding the fees, which answers questions regarding what would trigger a reinspection fee, how much money FDA expects to collect from the fees and what can be expected concerning the fees.

FDA says the agency is still evaluating comments received in response to its August 1, 2011 Federal Register notice and due to the complexities involved in the issues, FDA is not in a position to assess import reinspection fees until these issues are resolved and the public is notified. The deadline for comment on this notice is still set for October 31.

“Food importers and manufacturers still have opportunity to voice their opposition to the fee structure and should make sure they do so by joining our coalition,” England said. “This isn’t over yet, but we’re moving in the right direction. The time is right for food importers and manufacturers to speak out loudly now while we have FDA’s attention.”

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