Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in El Salvador

Posted on: 22 Jan 2012

This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in San Salvador, El Salvador, for U.S. exporters of domestic food and agricultural products.

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: 11/9/2011 GAIN Report Number: ES1110 El Salvador Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification FAIRS Export Certificate Report Approved By: Henry Schmick Prepared By: Miguel Herrera Report Highlights: Sections Updated: Section I. List of all Export Certificates Required by Government, Section II. Purpose of Specific Export Certificate (s), Section V. Other Certification/Accreditation Requirements and Appendix I. Electronic Copy or Outline of Each Export Certificate. Section I. List of All Export Certificates Required By Government (Matrix) : Disclaimer: This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in San Salvador, El Salvador, 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. The following table contains a list of official export certificates required for imported products. Product (s) Title of Attestation Required on Certificate Purpose Requesting Certificate Ministry Dairy Health and None Health Agriculture Origin Certificate Red Meat (Beef) Zoosanitary, Zoosanitary Certificate must include: “Product Health Agriculture 1/ Health and does not contain brain, eyes, spinal cord, tonsil, Certificate Origin thymus, spleen, intestines, spinal glands, trigeminal nerve, skull, spinal column, nor its protein by-products; and must have been retrieved from the carcass under appropriate sanitary conditions. Must proceed from cattle of 30 month or younger, boneless, with all Specified Risk Materials (SRM’s) removed and not mechanically deboned (deboned by hand)”. Red Meat (Pork) Zoosanitary, None Health Agriculture Health and Certificate Origin Poultry Zoosanitary, Official zoosanitary certificate must include: Health Agriculture Health and “1. The meat derives from birds raised in the Certificate Origin USA. 2. The product was derived from birds originating from a zone free of exotic Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza (HPNAI) for at least 21 days prior to slaughter, and from birds subjected to ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections for NAI with favorable results. 3. The birds, their products and sub- products, come from farms and establishments authorized by APHIS and FSIS to export to El Salvador. 4. The birds are the progeny of farms and flocks participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan which are routinely monitored and free from Salmonella Pullorum and Gallinarum. 5. The poultry meat derives from farms which have a sanitary and production program under supervision of the animal health authorities in the U.S. The birds from which the products were derived were not under official veterinary quarantine for poultry diseases transmissible through the meat. 6. There have been no clinical outbreaks of serious poultry diseases transmissible through poultry meat on the premises of origin, notifiable in the U.S., for at least 90 days prior to shipment. 7. The slaughter establishment where the birds were processed was under official inspection and is authorized to export poultry meat. 8. The product was inspected and passed and found fit for human consumption. 9. The poultry meat was produced under mandatory HACCP regulations that require testing for Salmonella and Escherichia coli and was found to be in compliance. 10. The poultry meat was produced in accordance with the U.S. National Residue Program.” Seafood Health and None Health Agriculture Origin Certificate Grains Phytosanitary “Product has been inspected and is free of Health Agriculture and Origin pests”. Certificate For rice: “Product is free of Tilletia Barclayana”. Flours Phytosanitary “Product has been inspected and is free of Health Agriculture and Origin pests”. Certificate Vegetables Origin None Health Agriculture (Processed, Frozen Free Sale None Certificate Health or Preserved) Food Safety Vegetables/Fruits Phytosanitary “Product has been inspected and is free of Plant Agriculture (Fresh), Flowers and Origin pests. Product originates from areas free of Health and Foliage Maconelicoccus hirsutus and Thrips palmi”. For grapes: “Product is free of pink mealy bug”. Ornamental Plants Phytosanitary “Plants have been inspected and are free of Plant Agriculture and Origin pests. Plants are free of soil residues or are Health packed using inert substance”. Planting Seeds Phytosanitary “Seeds have received chemical treatment and Plan Agriculture and Origin are duly certified.” Health 1/USDA/FAS is negotiating with Ministry of Agriculture a beef protocol that would reflect the U.S. Controlled Risk Status for BSE granted by the OIE. Section II. Purpose of Specific Export Certificate(s) The Ministry of Agriculture’s (MAG) Animal & Plant Health Inspection Division (DGSVA) awards import permits for animal and plant products. In addition, all imported processed products must be registered at the Ministry of Health’s (MPHSA) Environment Safety Division (DSA). In general, most products are subject to lab tests when undergoing routine controls and when the product is registered. The GOES requires that importers be registered with the MPHSA. Importers must also register each product to be imported with the MPHSA to ensure the product is fit for human consumption. A product that is registered undergoes physical, chemical, microbiological and other related tests to determine that it meets minimum health and sanitary standards. Product registration usually takes two to three weeks. Registration of a product, once granted, is valid for five years. The MPHSA has an online service that includes product registration requirements and import permits requests. This service can be accessed through the MPHSA website www.mspas.gob.sv under the services guide icon. The MPHSA is currently working on a project to have online import permits linked to Customs to expedite food import procedure. MAG has developed an online import permit system called Agricultural Safety Integration (SISA). Through SISA, importers can complete import permit requests online and expedite their import procedure. The SISA system can be accessed through the MAG website www.mag.gob.sv under the DGSVA icon. Certificates of Free Sale are required for imported products. A certificate of free sale, ideally, is a certificate from an authorized public health agency that stated that the product to be imported meets all health and sanitary requirements of that agency and it is freely sold and consumed in the country of origin. The certificate can include more than one product and is valid for one year. The certificate must be in Spanish or be accompanied by a copy of an official translation that can be provided by the importer. Radiation Certificates are required for products that have been irradiated. Food groups such as baby food, diet foods, and health foods undergo the same required regulations as the rest. In the case of meat zoosanitary regulations are required. These regulations are enforced by DGSVA through the Law for Sanitary Inspection of Meat (Executive Decree # 39, 07/13/71). Meat and meat products can be imported from any country whose meat inspection system is equivalent to the one established and maintained in El Salvador. Under the CAFTA-DR agreement El Salvador recognized the U.S. meat inspection system, including poultry, as equivalent. Shell eggs are the exemption and imports require a plant by plant inspection. USDA/FAS has requested that El Salvador recognize the U.S. egg inspection system as equivalent. Negotiations are underway to program a technical visit to the U.S. by a team from the Ministry of Agriculture to complete the equivalence process. Each shipment that contains meat and meat products from a foreign country must include an official certificate of meat inspection from the country of origin in Spanish. In addition, to obtain the import permit, meat-processing plants must be inspected and certified by a DGSVA inspector and importer must present a lab analysis for pesticide residue and heavy metals. Due to BSE, DGSVA is requiring that the Export Certificate contain the following additional remarks: “Boneless meat from cattle 30 month or younger, that have had all Specified Risk Materials (SRM’s) removed and not mechanically deboned (deboned by hand)”. USDA/FAS is negotiating with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) the new OIE regulations that reflect the U.S. as being a controlled risk country for BSE. Once this negotiation is completed, MAG must update import regulations for U.S. beef to reflect the U.S. revised OIE category which provides more flexible regulations. Dairy products also must contain a microbiological lab analysis. There are no special packaging or container size requirements in El Salvador. In the past, while all of the above requirements were official government policy, few were actually enforced. Most products were not registered. Importers had been able to import the majority of all processed products with a notarized letter from the manufacturer stating the product is fit for human consumption. Recently, the MPHSA has been enforcing the product registration requirement and does not allow any imported food product into the country without having fulfilled this requirement. The cost for product registration at the MPHSA is $ 35.00. In addition, microbiological analysis must be conducted for every food product that needs to be registered. The cost for this analysis ranges from $50 to $100 per product. According to the Health Authorities in El Salvador, the following information is required for an exporter to register a product: An application must be filed at the DSA of the MPHSA (Environmental Safety Division/Ministry of Health), which shall include the following information: Petitioner’s name and address. Description of the product. Name, address and telephone number of the establishment or factory where the product is manufactured. Use that the product will have. Name, address and telephone of the supplier in El Salvador. This application must be filed with the following documents: Power of attorney granted in favor of the Salvadoran attorneys or the company representative in the country, duly notarized at the nearest Consulate of El Salvador in the U.S. or by Apostille. The product Registration Certificate of the exporting country duly notarized at the nearest consulate of El Salvador or by Apostille. Regarding the product samples, the Environmental Safety Division requires 3 samples of the solid product weighing 200 grams each. For liquid products, the Ministry of Health requires 3 samples of the product of 200 milliliters each. A Certificate of Free Sale of the product, issued by the Health Authorities of the country of origin, duly notarized at the nearest Salvadoran Consulate or by Apostille. It must contain the product’s registration number and the manufacturing state of country. Functioning license of the local warehouse where the product will be stored, usually the local distributor obtains this license. Two original labels of the product to verify if they conform to the requirements established by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) for the Obligatory Salvadoran Norm (NSO): General Norm for labeling of pre-packaged food products R-UAC 67.01.02:02. Ingredient list in decreasing order according to product formulation. Only quantify flavoring, colorants, emulsifiers, preservers, sweetener, and any other contained in the product according to national or international norms. All other ingredients must be described in a qualitative manner. A representative or local distributor generally does the product registration procedure. For additional information on food import regulations please refer to El Salvador’s Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards report (ES1108) at www.fas.usda.gov under Attaché Reports. Section III. Specific Attestations Required on Export Certificate(s) Please refer to Section I. Section IV. Government Certificate’s Legal Entry Requirements Does the original certificate need to accompany the product at the time of entry? Yes. However an authenticated and Salvadoran consulate approved fair copy will be accepted. How long is the certificate valid? Can the certificate be applied to multiple shipments? If product is introduced through Acajutla Port the phyto and zoo sanitary certificates are valid for three months and for 30 days if introduced through any other official point of entry. Certificate for grains is valid for 6 months. Will the country accept a Suppliers or Manufacturers Export Declaration as proof of compliance? No. Will the foreign country accept a U.S. State issued export certificate? Yes, origin export certificates are accepted from U.S. State official institutions. Will the country derogate export certificates? Which certificates? How do you apply? No. Section V. Other Certification/Accreditation Requirements Product Sanitary Requirement Dairy Milk must proceed from establishments that have no sanitary restrictions. Plant must be authorized by DGSVA and approved for export by country of origin. Plant must base its activities on Codex Norms FAO-OMS and should include a program for microbiological control, physical-chemical, antibiotics, pesticides and heavy metals. Milk must be pasteurized or submitted to a 60 days maturity process indicating that it’s apt for human consumption. Upon arrival at port of entry, an approved disinfectant in the country of destination must be applied to packing material. The product must carry a label that should contain at least the following characteristics: a) Product classification, b) Ingredients in decreasing order according to proportion, c) Additives indicating function in the product, d) Expiration date in a visible place, e) Lot identification, as well as production year, month and day which could be in code in a visible place, f) Manufacturers name and address, g) Must declare name of country where product was manufactured, h) Net content in units according to international measuring system, I) Corresponding registration number and j) Vehicles and containers used for transportation must meet all conditions necessary for the optimal maintenance of cold chain; must be washed and disinfected previous to shipment with products authorized by both exporting and importing country. Red Meat (Beef) Must proceed from establishments that have no sanitary restrictions. The slaughter facility must be approved for exports and officially recognized by the importing country, based on Codex Alimentarius FAO-OMS with relation to ante and post mortem. Must be certified by sanitary officials from the exporting country as being safe for human consumption and have official veterinary inspection. Adequate refrigeration and packaging with a seal of inspection and identification of the origin establishment. Must present lab analysis results for pesticide residue, heavy metals and microbiology in accordance with a sampling program. Demonstrate the existence of a surveillance system that allows for identification of the herd where beef proceeds from, using a permanent tracking system that permits locating the mother and herd of origin. Proceed from cattle that have not been born from animals that are affected or supposedly affected by Bovine Spongiform Encelophatitis (BSE), or that have been born after the prohibition of feeding with bone and beef meal. Proceed from cattle that have been born, raised and remained in herds where no BSE case has been confirmed within the last seven years. Cattle will be submitted to an ante mortem inspection. No air or compressed gas guns have been used to sacrifice the cattle. Must proceed from animals that are less than 30 months of age, not mechanically deboned and have all Specific Risk Materials (SRM’s) removed. The meat was obtained from animals that were born and raised in the U.S. Conditions for maintaining the cold chain must be met and sealed with a customhouse stamp that can only be removed by DGSVA inspectors. Ministry of Agriculture’s division Inspection of Animal Origin Products (IPOA) will inspect the product upon arrival at the destination country. Red Meat (Pork) Animals must have been born, raised and exported in the exporting country. Farms must maintain a Zoosanitary control program under professional vet supervision. Farms must be free of: Aujeszky, Atrophic Rhinitis, Brucellosis, Transmissible Gastroenteritis, Digenesis and Respiratory Syndrome and Triquinelosis. Must proceed from slaughtering facilities that are authorized for exports by the country of origin and based on Codex Alimentarius FAO- OMS. Facility must be previously certified by DGSVA. Must be certified by sanitary officials from the exporting country as being safe for human consumption and have official veterinary inspection. Meat proceeds from healthy animals that were born, raised and fed in the exporting country. In the case that they proceed from third country animals, they must have remained in the country no less than 3 months. Must be packaged in food grade materials that are leak proof. Package must include product identification, facility where product was processed, authorization number awarded by official sanitary authority, lot number, production and expiration dates. Vehicles and containers used for transportation must meet all conditions necessary for the optimal maintenance of cold chain; must be washed and disinfected previous to shipment with products authorized by both exporting and importing country, and sealed with a customhouse stamp that can only be removed by DGSVA inspectors. Importation is only permitted from animals that originate in countries that are free of foot and mouth, classical swine fever, African swine fever, encephalomyelitis by enterovirus (Teschen) and vesicular estomatitis and other exotic diseases. Poultry Imports are only allowed from countries or areas free of the following diseases: New Castle, Avian Influenza, Laryngotraqueitis and Pulorosis/Tifosis. Farms must have a zoosanitary control program under professional vet supervision and slaughter facility be free of the following diseases: s. pullorum, s. gallinarum, s. tiphimutium, s. enteritidis, s. gallisepticum and s. Sinoviae pasteurella. The slaughter facility must be inspected and officially approved for exports by the importing and exporting country, based on Codex Alimentarius FAO-OMS with relation to ante and post mortem and sanitation of fresh meat. The birds from where the product proceeds are not subject to sanitary restrictions and have presented negative results to tests for: Newcastle isolation, hemoaglutanation inhibition (hi) and/or inmunodifusion in agar gel for avian influenza, rapid agglutination in plaque and isolation for avian sallmonelosis (s. pullorun and s. gallinarum) and ELISA for infectious avian laryngotraqueitis. Imports must proceed from birds raised in the country of origin. Must be certified by sanitary officials from the exporting country as being safe for human consumption. That have been packaged in new boxes made of carton or plastic, satisfying the disinfection requirements and that after this process were not exposed to contamination. Must exhibit clearly farm of origin identification, lot number, production date, and have an official seal that establishes that containers or transportation vehicles have been washed and disinfected using authorized products by the country of origin. Conditions for maintaining the cold chain must be met and sealed with a customhouse stamp that can only be removed by DGSVA inspectors. IPOA will inspect product upon arrival at the destination country. Please refer to the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) export library to view the updated U.S. poultry regulations for El Salvador negotiated under the CAFTA-DR agreement. Seafood Shrimp must proceed from an authorized facility in the country of origin. Facility must carry out its activities based on Codex Alimentarius FAO-OMS norms. Whenever DGSVA considers appropriate, a joint inspection and approval visit with the official sanitary authority in the country of origin will be conducted. Imports are allowed from countries or areas free of the following diseases: White spot, yellow head and TSV. Whenever MAG consider necessary, samples can be taken from each shipment for sanitary analysis, quarantine and toxic residues. Product must include in the package a label that includes at minimum the following characteristics: a) Product designation and classification, b) ingredient names in decreasing order according to proportion, c) Additives indicating function in the product, d) Expiration date in an appropriate and visible place, e) lot identification, manufacturing year/month/day which can be in code in an appropriate and visible place, f) Manufacturer’s name or establishment under which the brand is sold, as well as the establishment’s address, g) Manufacturing country, h) Net content in units of the international measuring system and I) Corresponding registration number. Conditions for maintaining the cold chain must be met and sealed with a customhouse stamp that can only be removed by DGSVA inspectors. For additional information or assistance with seafood import requirements please contact the U.S. Department of Commerce/Foreign Commercial Service. Grains Quarantine treatment will be applied at origin and respective proof will be required. If during inspection at point of entry live pests are found, a new treatment will be applied. Flours Product will be inspected at point of entry and a quarantine treatment will be applied if during inspection live pests are found. Vegetables/Fruits Product will be inspected at point of entry. (Fresh), Flowers and Foliage Ornamental Plants Product will be inspected at point of entry and a quarantine treatment will be applied if during inspection live pests are found. In some cases the CITES certificate must be presented. Planting Seeds The variety, brand and lot number must be specified. Seed will be sampled at the warehouse before being commercialized. Biotech seeds are prohibited. Appendix I. Electronic Copy or Outline of Each Export Certificate Health Certificates for processed products required by the Ministry of Health need to be signed by the FDA. For processed products containing more than 3 percent of meat/poultry and eggs certificate must be signed by FSIS.
Posted: 22 January 2012

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