Changes to the Food Safety Modernisation Act and requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were introduced at a seminar on exports to the US, in Hanoi on April 18.

At the event, Deputy Head of the Trade Promotion Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ta Hoang Linh said since Vietnam and the US signed a bilateral cooperation agreement, two-way trade has increased and the US has become Vietnam’s leading importer.

In 2011, Vietnam’s exports to the US fetched 16.9 billion USD, representing 17.5 percent of the country’s total exports. However, Vietnamese businesses are still facing difficulties due to poor access to new US regulations on Vietnam’s goods for export.

Vice President David Lennarz of the Registrar Corp, which co-organised the seminar, said as of 2012, each food business must register with the FDA biennially.

The Act allows FDA to inspect a registered food production establishment if FDA believes the establishment’s products may seriously affect people’s health or cause human or animal fatality, he said.

The Act also permits FDA to ask and even order the company to retrieve its infectious products, he added.

Experts also said US importers are asked to confirm the safety of all batches of Vietnamese food, pharmaceutical products and beverages shipped to the US.

The regulation stipulating FDA’s request for safety certificates for each batch officially took effect on Jan. 4, they said, adding that FDA will release a list of qualified importers on July 4.-VNA