Trinidad and Tobago-Food and Agricultural Import Regulations

An Expert's View about Imports/Exports in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted on: 11 Jan 2013

This report outlines Trinidad and Tobago’s certification requirements and includes an Export Certificate Matrix as well as examples of select Export Certificates.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 12/11/2012 GAIN Report Number: CB1222 Trinidad and Tobago Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification FAIRS Export Certificate Report Approved By: Katherine Nishiura Prepared By: Omar Gonzalez Report Highlights: Updated Section(s): Appendix I & III. U.S. Suppliers need to be mindful of certification requirements for agricultural products entering Trinidad and Tobago. Although Trinidad and Tobago is quite receptive to U.S. products and all required certificates can be readily obtained by U.S. suppliers, careful attention to certification details will help prevent costly customs clearance problems. This report outlines Trinidad and Tobago’s certification requirements and includes an Export Certificate Matrix as well as examples of select Export Certificates. Section I. List of All Export Certificates Required By Government (Matrix) : NOTE: This report was prepared by the Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office (CBATO) of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)/U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Miami, Florida for U.S. exporters of domestic food and agricultural products. While every possible care was taken in the preparation of this report, information provided may not be completely accurate either because policies have changed since its preparation, or because clear and consistent information about these policies was not available. It is highly recommended that U.S. exporters verify the full set of import requirements with their foreign customers, who are normally best equipped to research such matters with local authorities, before any goods are shipped. FINAL IMPORT APPROVAL OF ANY PRODUCT IS SUBJECT TO THE IMPORTING COUNTRY’S RULES AND REGULATIONS AS INTERPRETED BY BORDER OFFICIALS AT THE TIME OF PRODUCT ENTRY. Product(s) Title of Certificate Attestation Required Purpose Requesting on Certificate Ministry All Foods Certificate of Free The products Food Safety Min. of Health: Sale exported are Chemistry/Food & produced and Drugs Division marketed in the United States in general conformity with US requirements. Animal Health Certificate / The animal/marine Food Min. of Health: Products/Fish Sanitary Certificate products destined for Safety/Food Chemistry/Food & Products food consumption are Quality Drugs Division free from disease and conform to negotiated Ministry of Food standards concerning Animal Production, Land & animal/marine health. Health Marine Affairs: *See Section III for Protection Animal Health Sub- specific language Division (Vet required. Services) Meat Meat/Poultry The meat/poultry Food Min. of Health: Products/Poultry Inspection Certificate products have been Safety/Food Chemistry/Food & (Certificate of inspected by a Quality Drugs Division (Including pet Wholesomeness) certified veterinarian, foods) both antemortem & Animal Ministry of Food postmortem, and are Health Production, Land & wholesome and fit for Protection Marine Affairs: human consumption. Animal Health Sub- Division (Vet Additional statements Services) must be made for canned and packaged meat products. *See Section III for specific language required. Canned and Cooking/Processing The canned Food Safety Min. of Health: Packaged Meats Certificate meat/poultry Chemistry/Food & products were Drugs Division manufactured in accordance with USDA Ministry of Food meat/poultry Production, Land & processing Marine Affairs: regulations. Animal Health Sub- Division (Vet Must specify the Services) temp./minutes of the sterilizing process and the sterilizing value Product(s) Title of Certificate Attestation Required on Purpose Requesting Certificate Ministry Unprocessed Phytosanitary The plant products have Food Min. of Health: Plant Products Certificate been inspected and are Safety Chemistry/Food & free of harmful pests Drugs Division (Fresh fruits and plant diseases, and and vegetables, comply with Trinidad Ministry of Food rice, flour, peas, and Tobago’s Plant Production, Land beans, plants & phytosanitary Protection & Marine Affairs: lumber) regulations. Must Plant Quarantine declare from which US Service State the plant products originated. *See Section III for sample language. All Foods Certificate of Analysis Must give a complete Food Min. of Health: chemical analysis of the Safety/ Chemistry/Food & product. Must identify Food Drugs Division the preservatives, food Quality/ additives, and color Heavy additives of the product. Metals/ Inorganic, Organic Standards Peanuts/Corn Aflatoxin Certificate An accredited Food Min. of Health: laboratory has tested Safety Chemistry/Food & the peanuts/corn Drugs Division products and the products do not exceed prescribed aflatoxin regulations. Fish Mercury/Heavy The fish product meets Food Min. of Health: Metals/Contaminants or exceeds all purity Safety Chemistry/Food & /Toxins/Residues standards specified by Drugs Division Certificate the Trinidad and Tobago (Certificate of Analysis) government. Halal/Kosher Halal/Kosher Certificate The meat product was Religious Min. of Health: Meat Products slaughtered under Beliefs Chemistry/Food & religious ritual slaughter Drugs Division practices (Halal or Kosher). *See Section III for sample language Dairy and Dairy Certificate of Origin Country of origin of raw Food Min. of Health: Products materials Safety Chemistry/Food & Drugs Division Other Products Other Certificates: Specific language may Food Min. of Health: Organically Grown vary depending on the Safety Chemistry/Food & Foods, Genetically nature of the certificate. Drugs Division Modified Foods, U.S. exporters should Irradiated Foods consult with the Chemistry/Food & Drug Division (see Government Agency Regulatory Contacts at the end of this report). Section II. Purpose of Specific Export Certificate(s) •Certificate of Free Sale: The Ministry of Health, for the purpose of food safety, requires this certificate for all food products exported to Trinidad and Tobago. Note: While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) often issues Certificates of Free Sale, it is important to note that the 1997 FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act does not require FDA to issue export certificates for food products. However, since many foreign governments require Certificates of Free Sale, FDA intends to continue to provide this certification service as resources permit. •Health Certificate/Sanitary Certificate: The Ministry of Health requires this certificate for food safety, food quality, and food processing conditions. Additionally, the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Resources, Animal Health Sub-Division (Veterinary Services) requires this certificate for animal health protection purposes. Note: USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is the principal federal agency responsible for issuing health certificates for animal products. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the primary federal agency responsible for issuing health certificates for harvested/produced seafood products. •Meat/Poultry Inspection Certificate (Certificate of Wholesomeness): The Ministry of Health, as well as the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, require that this certificate be issued by a U.S. Federal Agency for food quality purposes. Note: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issues Certificates of Wholesomeness guaranteeing that the meat/poultry products have been inspected by a FSIS Veterinarian, both antemortem and postmortem, and are wholesome and fit for consumption. •Cooking and Processing Certificate: The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, for the purpose of food safety, require this certificate for all canned and packaged meat products exported to Trinidad and Tobago. •Phytosanitary Certificate: This certificate is required by the Ministry of Health for the purpose of food safety, as well by the Ministry of Food Production, Land & Marine Affairs/Plant Quarantine Unit for domestic plant protection purposes. Note: USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is the principal federal agency responsible for conducting inspections and issuing Phytosanitary Certificates. •Certificate of Analysis: The Ministry of Health requires this certificate for the purposes of food safety, food quality, heavy metals, toxins, contaminants, residues and inorganic/organic standards. Note: USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issues Certificates of Analysis (for nuts and a few other exported products only) on a user-fee basis. •Aflatoxin Certificate: The Ministry of Health, for food safety reasons, requires this certificate. Note: USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), or other USDA accredited labs, issue Aflatoxin Certificates on a user-fee basis. •Mercury/Heavy Metals/Toxins/Contaminants/Residues Certificate: The Ministry of Health, for food safety reasons, requires this official certificate for all U.S. fish products exported to Trinidad and Tobago. •Halal/Kosher Certificate: This certificate is required of products labeled as being either Halal or Kosher. The Ministry of Health requires this certificate for religious belief purposes. •Certificate of Origin: The Ministry of Health requires this certificate for food safety reasons. The Ministry of Health has specific concerns regarding melamine in raw materials. Section III. Specific Attestations Required on Export Certificate(s) •Certificate of Free Sale: This certificate should attest that the particular products exported to Trinidad and Tobago are produced and marketed in the United States in general conformity with U.S. requirements. •Health Certificate/Sanitary Certificate: This certificate should declare that the facilities are operated under sanitary conditions (under supervision/monitoring of the regulatory agency) and animal/marine/other products destined for food consumption are free from disease and conform to negotiated standards concerning animal/marine health. This certificate should include the following attestation for animal products: This is to certify that rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, hog cholera, swine vesicular disease, African Swine fever, bovine fever, and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia do not exist in the United States of America. The Trinidad and Tobago Government requires the following declaration on the Health Certificate for Pet Food: a. The producing plant has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under APHIS Veterinary Services as a producer of pet food for export and is supervised by an official or accredited veterinarian. b. The pet food meets the requirements of the United States for local use. c. The animals used in the production of the food were presented for examination at slaughter and evaluated under standards existing for pet food in the United States or the State of origin of the product. d. The raw materials have been manufactured and packaged in compliance with approved manufacturing practices in the country of export, designed to produce a product free from pathogenic microorganisms. e. Any meat from cattle comes from animals which were subjected to ante-mortem examination (inspected prior to slaughter), and were not found to show any evidence or clinical signs of any disease transmissible by the certified materials. These animals did not show any clinical signs of generalized central nervous system disease. The feeding of ruminants with meat-and-bone meal and greaves derived from ruminants is banned in the United States, and this ban is effectively enforced. f. The product has not been manufactured using animal protein from specified risk materials (SRM’s) defined as: the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of cattle 30 months of age and older, and the tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine of cattle. •Meat/Poultry Inspection Certificate (Certificate of Wholesomeness): This certificate should attest that the meat/poultry products have been inspected by a certified veterinarian, both antemortem and postmortem, and are wholesome and fit for consumption. This certificate should include the following attestation for fresh/frozen beef and beef products: a. The meat and meat products are derived from cattle that were subject to ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection according to USDA regulations and were slaughtered after Jan 12, 2004. b. All cattle are humanely stunned by a method that does not inject air into the cranial cavity. c. The beef and beef products were not derived from and do not contain any of the following specified risk materials: brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and the wings of the sacrum) and dorsal root ganglia, from animals over 30 months of age at the time of slaughter and the tonsils and intestine from pylorus to anus, of all animals regardless of age. d. The beef and beef products do not contain any mechanically separated meat or advanced recovery meat. This certificate should include the following attestation for poultry and poultry products: The products do not originate from states that are under quarantine restrictions for any OIE listed diseases affecting poultry. •Cooking and Processing Certificate: This certificate should declare that the canned meat/poultry products were manufactured in accordance with USDA meat/poultry processing regulations. The certificate should specify the temperature/minutes of the sterilizing process and the sterilizing value. •Phytosanitary Certificate: This certificate should certify that the shipment of plant products has been inspected and is free of harmful pests and plant diseases, and complies with Trinidad and Tobago’s phytosanitary regulations. Furthermore, the Phytosanitary Certificate must declare from which U.S. State the plant products originated. While the Trinidad and Tobago Government has not specified a specific declaration required on the Phytosanitary Certificate, the following sample attestation can be used as a guideline: The products have been inspected and/or tested according to appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free from pests and diseases and conform to the current phytosanitary requirements of Trinidad and Tobago. Note: The importation of soft, fleshy fruits and vegetables are prohibited from all areas where dangerous fruit flies (i.e. Mexican and Mediterranean) are known to occur unless approved treatments can be effectively performed. Additionally, the importation of planting material, namely plants and rooted cuttings, should be limited to soil-free plants and plant parts. •Certificate of Analysis: This certificate should give a complete chemical analysis and microbiological analysis of the product. This certificate should also identify the preservatives, food additives, and color additives of the product. •Aflatoxin Certificate: This certificate should attest that an accredited laboratory has tested the peanuts/corn products and the products do not exceed proscribed aflatoxin regulations. •Mercury/Heavy Metals/Contaminants/Toxins/Residues Certificate: This certificate should declare that the fish product meets or exceeds all purity standards specified by the Trinidad and Tobago government. •Halal/Kosher Certificate: This certificate should ensure that the meat product was slaughtered under religious ritual slaughter practices (Halal or Kosher). While the Trinidad and Tobago Government has not specified a specific declaration required on Halal/Kosher Certificates, the following sample attestation can be used as a guideline for poultry products: The poultry products covered by this certificate are derived from birds that received (Kosher/Halal) slaughter as based upon documentation provided by religious authorities or by (Kosher/Halal) label declaration. The following sample attestation can be used as a guideline for beef products: The beef products covered by this certificate are derived from cattle that received (Kosher/Halal) slaughter as based upon documentation provided by religious authorities or by (Kosher/Halal) label declaration. •Certificate of Origin: The certificate must state the country of origin of the raw materials. Section IV. Government Certificate’s Legal Entry Requirements •Certificate of Free Sale: The Trinidad and Tobago government requests that a Federal Health Authority issue this certificate. Trinidad and Tobago does not accept a Supplier’s or Manufacturer’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. The Certificate of Free Sale is valid for one year and can be applied to multiple shipments of the same product. Exporters are required to update this certificate with the Trinidad and Tobago Chemistry/Food and Drug Division on an annual basis. •Health Certificate/Sanitary Certificate: The Trinidad and Tobago Government requests that this certificate be issued by a U.S. Federal Agency. The Trinidad and Tobago Government does not accept U.S. State issued Health Certificates. The Health Certificate is valid for the length of time indicated on the certificate, otherwise valid for the indicated shipment, and it must accompany the products at the time of entry. •Meat/Poultry Inspection Certificate (Certificate of Wholesomeness): The Trinidad and Tobago Government requires that this certificate be issued by a U.S. Federal Agency. The Government will not accept U.S. State issued Meat/Poultry Inspection Certificates. Customs Officials will accept the Certificate of Meat/Poultry for the indicated shipment only, and an original certificate must accompany the products at the time of entry and be presented in order to obtain an import permit. •Cooking and Processing Certificate: The Trinidad and Tobago Government requests that this certificate be issued by a U.S. Federal Agency. The Government does not accept a Manufacturer/Supplier’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. The certificate is only valid for the indicated shipment, and the original certificate must accompany the products at the time of entry. •Phytosanitary Certificate: The Trinidad and Tobago Government requires that this certificate be issued by a U.S. Federal Agency. The Trinidad and Tobago Government will not accept a U.S. State issued Phytosanitary Certificate or a Manufacturer/Supplier’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. Customs Officials will accept the certificate for the indicated shipment only, and the original certificate must accompany the plant products at the time of entry. •Certificate of Analysis: The Trinidad and Tobago Government accepts a Manufacturer/Supplier’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. The certificate is valid for the indicated shipment only, and the original certificate must accompany the products at the time of entry. •Aflatoxin Certificate: The Trinidad and Tobago Government accepts a Manufacturer/Supplier’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. Customs Officials will accept the Aflatoxin Certificate for the indicated shipment only, and an original certificate must accompany the peanut/corn products at the time of entry. •Mercury/Heavy Metals/Contaminants/Toxins/Residues Certificate: The Trinidad and Tobago Government accepts a Manufacturer/Supplier’s Export Declaration as proof of compliance. The certificate is valid for the indicated shipment only, and the original certificate must accompany the fish products at the time of entry. •Halal/Kosher Certificate: This certificate may be issued by a private sector religious authority. An original certificate must accompany the product at the time of entry. •Certificate of Origin: This certificate must be issued by an official body at the Federal or local level. The certificate is only valid for the indicated shipment, and the original certificate must accompany the products at the time of entry. Section V. Other Certification/Accreditation Requirements The Food and Drug Act of 1960, the Pesticide & Toxic Chemical Act of 1979, the Animal Disease Importation Act of 1954, and the Plant Protection Act of 1975, are the comprehensive set of laws that govern the importation of food and agricultural products into Trinidad and Tobago. In general, Trinidad and Tobago follows internationally accepted food standards and guidelines (i.e. those developed by the Codex Alimentarius), and may refer to U.S., Canadian, and European standards as well. It is important to note that import permits are required by Trinidad and Tobago for a large number of fresh and semi-processed food products entering the country. An import permit is only issued to residents of Trinidad and Tobago. If an import permit is issued, it will detail the conditions under which the product will be allowed to enter into Trinidad and Tobago (e.g. certification or any treatment that may be required). Therefore, U.S. exporters should work very closely with their Trinidad and Tobago importers to make sure that they fully comply with the specified conditions of entry. For more information on the subject, see the 2012 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Report for Trinidad and Tobago. Appendix I. Electronic Copy or Outline of Each Export Certificate Author Defined: Appendix II. Government Regulatory Agency Contacts Chemistry/Food & Drugs Division Ministry of Health 92 Frederick Street, 2nd Floor Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Tel: (868) 624-5968, 623-5242, 623-2834, 623-2476 Fax: (868) 623-2477 E-mail: cfdd@health.gov.tt Veterinary Service Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs 80 Abercromby St. Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Tel: (868) 625-5997, 625-1473, 741-3968 Fax: (868) 625-5993 E-mail: aphmalmr@tstt.net.tt , aphmalmr@gmail.com Plant Quarantine Service Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs Central Experiment Station Caroni North Bank Rd. Centeno, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Tel: 1 (868) 646-4335 / 646-4337 ext. 4017 or 4036 Tel/Fax: (868) 642-0718 E-mail: plantquarantine.centeno@gmail.com Research & Policy Unit Customs & Excise Division Ministry of Finance Nicholas Court, Independence Square Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Tel: (868) 625-3311 to 19 ext. 260 Fax: (868) 623-8557 E-mail: policyunit@customs.gov.tt Appendix III. Other Import Specialist Contacts Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office (CBATO) Foreign Agricultural Service U.S. Department of Agriculture 909 SE 1st Ave., Suite 720 Miami, FL 33131 Tel: (305) 536-5300 Fax: (305) 536-7577 E-mail: atocaribbeanbasin@fas.usda.gov Website: www.cbato.fas.usda.gov Katherine Nishiura Director Katherine.Nishiura@fas.usda.gov Omar Gonzalez Agricultural Marketing Specialist Omar.Gonzalez@fas.usda.gov Graciela Juelle Agricultural Marketing Assistant Grace.Juelle@fas.usda.gov
Posted: 11 January 2013