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The Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office (CBATO) is one of 93 offices servicing 171 countries for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).  FAS is USDA’s lead agency for coordinating international affairs related to trade and development of agriculture and agricultural products.  As the official representative internationally for the Department and its 18 agencies, FAS participates in and organizes an array of agricultural related activities, coordinates technical assistance and scientific exchange programs, shares information on food, plant and animal safety procedures, on newer technologies and on agricultural research. 

The CBATO’s mission, among several, is to ensure Caribbean-based governments have access to information about current issues concerning U.S. food and agricultural products.

The CBATO coordinates technical assistance and specialized training available for Caribbean officials through the USDA network in the United States.  In 2017 the Training Resources Guide identified such resources available to Caribbean officials.    The Training Resources Guide brings together information related to the different courses and seminars offered, including the contact information for the institutions that offer training programs.  There are courses to provide intensive training, exposure, and skills in a variety of areas ranging from veterinary science, to meat and poultry inspection, biotechnology, post-harvest technology for horticulture, food industry, grain industry, epidemiology, sustainable agriculture, animal production and processing, and many more.  These courses are limited only by class size as applicants cover their participation costs.

The CBATO also coordinates USDA’s Cochran Fellowship training program to qualified persons (public and private sector) in the food and agricultural industry from eligible Caribbean countries.  Each program is specifically designed to meet the needs of the participants.  Participants meet with professionals in the field, participate in field observations and industry tours, experience on-the-job training, or attend university coursers or seminars.  Information on the 2017 Cochran Fellowship program, its focus and eligible countries is available here.

The CBATO provides an interface for Caribbean officials with U.S. regulatory authorities.   For information on U.S. certification of animals, plants, their products, seafood and processed food products exported by the United States please select Market Access under the Browse by Subject to the left of your screen.

The table below provides an overview of responsibilities of the primary U.S. Federal Government Agencies Involved in Regulating Food and Agricultural Products marketed in the U.S.  The U.S. applies health, safety standards uniformly for food and agricultural products regardless of origin or destination.  

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

APHIS mission includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. 

 

Holds regulatory oversight for: 

-   - All live animals and animal products,

-   - All plants and plant products,

-   - APHIS determines enterability of a  commodity based on the OIE declared disease and pest status of the exporting country.

 

APHIS maintains the official Database of Import Requirements for Fruits and Vegetables (FAVIR).  The FAVIR database(http://www.aphis.usda.gov/favir/info.shtml) allows U.S. customers to search for authorized fruits and vegetables by commodity or country and to quickly and easily determine the general requirements for their importation into the United States.  

 

Under its authority regulating live animals APHIS manages travel of pets into and out of the United States.  See its web-site Pet Travel for guidance and exceptions.

 

For more information on U.S. export and U.S. import requirements: 

APHIS Import-Export Guidance

FSIS is the public health agency in the USDA responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

Holds regulatory oversight for:

-   All meat and poultry,

-   -Processed products containing more than 3 percent raw meat,

-   -Processed products containing 2 percent or more cooked poultry or meat,

-   - FSIS works with national authorities to approve meat inspection systems.  APHIS generally determines the country’s disease freedom before meat/poultry can be imported.

FSIS maintains a country database of export requirements for meat and poultry products which is commonly referred to as the “FSIS Export Library.”  The FSIS EL database can be accessed at:  FSIS EL

For more information on U.S. export and U.S. import requirements: 

FSIS International Affairs

AMS administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops.

AMS provides the agriculture industry with valuable certification and verification services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country and to our international markets.

AMS issues Export Certificates under various verification programs ranging from Organic Certification, Dairy, to Eggs and Egg Products.

AMS is the lone certifier of U.S. origin dairy products. 

 

 

For more information on AMS and its services: AMS Services

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)

FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

 

FDA is charged with enforcing the FFDC Act, which prohibits the distribution within or importation into the country of any:

- Adulterated food (a food containing any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health),  

– Misbranded food (a food whose labeling is false or misleading),

and provides it

-   Jurisdiction over imported foods, fish, and meats not covered by FSIS (such as game meat),

-   Inspection at port of entry

 

FDA is in the process of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

That will give the agency new and enhanced mandates and authorities to protect consumers and promote public health.

 

For more information on FDA, its food related guidance and regulations: FDA Food Guidance and Regulations

EPA mission is to protect human health and the environment.

 

EPA holds regulatory oversight for:

-   -Licensing all pesticide products distributed in the United States (Pesticide Registration)

-   -Establishing pesticide tolerance levels in food and feed (Food and Pesticides)

 

 

For information on EPA, its agriculture-related guidance and regulations: EPA Laws and Regulations

FWS mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the America people.

 

FWS holds regulatory oversight for:

-  All animal, plants and their products which are CITES listed (endangered species).

 

 

For information on U.S. export and U.S. import requirements for wildlife and wildlife products:

FWS Wildlife Import-Export

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

   

NOAA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, oversees fisheries management in the United States.

 

Under authority in the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act, the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program provides inspection services for fish, shellfish, and fishery products to the industry. The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program is often referred to as the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) Seafood Inspection Program and uses marks and documents bearing the

 

 

For more information on seafood export certification: NOAA Seafood Inspection Program

 

 

 

 

 

Accessing Current Product Recalls

FoodSafety.gov is the official Gateway to Federal Food Safety Information.  This site lists notices of recalls and alerts  from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and important food safety tips.   If USDA or FDA have identified a recalled product as exported to a Caribbean country, our office will contact the appropriate government official and importer with the recalled product information.

This page was last updated: 01/18/2017