Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Honduras

Posted on: 29 Feb 2012

This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Tegucigalpa, Honduras 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: 12/14/2011 GAIN Report Number: Honduras Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification FAIRS Export Certificate Report 2011 Approved By: Henry Schmick, Agricultural Counselor Prepared By: Ana Gomez, Agricultural Specialist Report Highlights: Sections Updated: There are no changes in the import requirements of the Government of Honduras. DISCLAIMER: This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Tegucigalpa, Honduras 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 Section I. List of All Export Certificates Required By Government (Matrix) : The agencies of the Honduran Government (GOH) involved in the importation of food and agricultural products are the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) through the National Plant and Animal Health Service (SENASA), and the of Secretariat of Health through the Sanitary Regulation Directorate (SRD). SENASA is responsible for the inspection of agricultural products that enter Honduras, such as the importation of plant and animal products, pesticides, agricultural chemicals, veterinary products and raw materials. The SRD is responsible for securing the safety of processed food products sold to the consumer at the retail and wholesale levels. All animal products or by-products, fruits, vegetables, grains, planting seeds, pesticides, agricultural chemicals and veterinary products imported into Honduras must be done by an importer registered by SENASA. SENASA closely monitors the importer’s establishment and its compliance with all food safety, cooling and hygiene conditions. In order to obtain the registration number, the importer should submit a legal request to SENASA with the Sanitary License, Municipality Permit, the water analysis of the establishment, the deed and plant blueprint. SENASA then visits the establishment to verify the conditions reported by the importer. All processed food products imported into Honduras must be registered with the SRD. The exporter should confirm that the importer complies with two SRD requirements: First, the importer must have a valid Sanitary License, and second, the importer must register the product and obtain a Sanitary Registration Number or Sanitary Inscription. The Sanitary License applies only to Honduran establishments. Through the license, the SRD authorizes the establishments to manufacture or import and store processed food products based on their compliance with food safety and hygiene requirements. The Sanitary Registration Number is the established procedure through which processed foods are approved to be sold, i.e. is the processed product registration. The Sanitary Inscription is the authorization granted to an importer or distributor of a previously registered product. In general terms, import regulations and export certificate requirements describe and/or attest to animal and plant health or product safety, production, or processing methods. They attest to the status of the manufacturing or packaging establishment producing such food. The request of a certificate is also geared toward: avoiding fraud in transactions dealing with food products, as well as protecting the agriculture and economic interests of Honduras in both the domestic and international trade of food products. The following is an Export Certificate Matrix which provides all Export Certificates required by Honduras: Title of Attestation Required Requesting Product Certificate on Certificate Purpose Ministry Live Animals - Zoosanitary The Veterinarian must be Health Export registered with USDA APHIS Certificate Agriculture Certificate - Medical Veterinary Certificate - Certificate of Origin Bovine meat - Meat and None Health Poultry Export Certificate Agriculture Certificate (FSIS Form 9060-5) - Certificate of Origin Pork meat - Meat and None Health Poultry Export Certificate Agriculture Certificate (FSIS Form 9060-5) - Certificate of Origin Poultry meat - Meat and Additional declaration Health Poultry Export indicating that "All Certificate Agriculture Certificate (FSIS fresh/frozen poultry meat, Form 9060-5) including mechanically - Certificate of deboned meat (MDM), comes Origin from an area free of high or low pathogenic Avian Influenza" Dairy -Health/Export Health Products Certificate None Certificate Agriculture (APHIS VS form 17-4) or -Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) -Certificate of Origin Veterinary -Zoosanitary Health Products Export Certificate None Certificate Agriculture - Certificate of Origin Fish and - Export Health None Health Agriculture Crustaceans Certificate Certificate (NOAA Form 89- 807) - Certificate of Origin Grains - Phytosanitary None Health Agriculture Certificate Certificate - Certificate of Origin Flours - Certificate of Should have added iron, folic Health Health Free Sale acid, vitamins B1, B2 and Certificate - Certificate of niacin Origin Fresh fruits - Phytosanitary None Health Agriculture and Certificate Certificate Vegetables - Certificate of Origin Plants and - Phytosanitary None Health Plant Certificate Certificate Agriculture products - Certificate of Origin Planting - Phytosanitary Health Seeds Certificate None Certificate Agriculture - Certificate of Origin - Quality Certificate Processed - Certificate of None Health Health Food Free Sale Certificate Agriculture Products - Certificate of Origin - Product’s Specification Report Sugar - Certificate of Must have vitamin “A” added Health Health Free Sale Certificate Agriculture - Certificate of Origin Salt - Certificate of Must have iodine added Health Health Free Sale Certificate - Certificate of Origin Honey - Certificate of Must indicate the bee specie Health Health Free Sale Certificate Agriculture - Certificate of Origin Bottled water - Certificate of Physical, chemical, biological Health Health Free Sale and microbiological laboratory Certificate - Certificate of analysis Origin - Product’s Specification Report Section II. Purpose of Specific Export Certificate(s) SENASA recognizes certificates issued by various U.S. Government agencies. SENASA does not accept a Suppliers or Manufacturers Export Declaration. The list of certificates most widely used follows: 1. Certificate of Origin. The certificate is from the place where the product was produced or manufactured. Products made in the United States, and shipped from any port must have a certificate indicating the United States as the country of origin. In the case of products not made in the United States, but distributed by U.S. companies, the United States Chambers of Commerce can issue a Certificate of Origin which indicates the country of origin of the product. SENASA reports that often importers are confused about “origin” and “point of shipping”. This might cause error in the documents presented for the import permit. The certificate is required by the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG). In relation to the United States-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), Honduras requires a special Certificate of Origin for imports from the United States to be submitted. The main purpose of the document is to certify that the product originated in the United States, which in turn allows the product to receive the preferential tariff treatment agreed upon in CAFTA-DR. The producer, exporter or importer could provide the certificate with all the required information. A sample of this certificate can be found at CAFTA_TLC_Estados_Unidos.sflb.ashx. The CAFTA-DR certificate is required by the Customs Tax Division (DEI). 2. Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate. The certificate aims to protect the sanitary condition of the importing country and acknowledges that the plant or animal product is pest or disease free. In the case of the United States, SENASA requires the certificate to be issued by a federal government authority such as: the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). The certificate is required by SAG. SAG’s SENASA does not accept documents from commercial trading companies. Under CAFTA-DR, Honduras recognized the United States inspection services as equivalent. This equivalence eliminates the requirement of a pre-certification of the U.S. exporters’ facilities. 3. Meat and Poultry Export Certificate of Wholesomeness. The certificate officially states that the meat or meat food product is derived from animals that received both ante mortem and postmortem inspections and were found sound and healthy. It also states that the product passed the inspection in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and is wholesome and fit for human consumption. The certificate is issued by USDA’s FSIS (FSIS form 9060-5). The certificate is required by SAG. 4. Health Certificate/Export Certificate/Animal Products. The certificate is for veterinary purposes only. It officially states the names of the animal diseases that do not exist in the United States. It also declares that live animals are healthy with no pests or diseases. The certificate is issued by the USDA’s APHIS (VS form 16-4). The certificate is required by SAG. 5. Export Health Certificate. The certificate confirms that the product was inspected and found to be in compliance with the applicable regulations. It also certifies that the product was found to be wholesome, edible and fit for human consumption. In the case of fish and crustaceous exports from the United States, the certificate is issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA form 89-807). The certificate is required by SAG. 6. Zoosanitary Export Certificate. The certificate states that the live animal imported does not bring pest or diseases that might cause an outbreak into the importing country. The certificate should comply with the health regulations of Honduras for the importation of live animals and animal products to avoid outbreaks of pathogens responsible for diseases in animals and humans alike. In the case of live animal exports from the United States, the certificate is issued by USDA’s APHIS. The certificate is required by SAG. 7. Medical Veterinary Certificate. The certificate is issued by a veterinarian and states that the live animal is healthy with no pests or diseases. The requirements could change according to the sanitary conditions of the country where the animal is coming from. SENASA checks the website of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to determine the status of that specific country. In the case of the United States, the veterinarian should be an accredited and authorized veterinarian by USDA APHIS. The certificate is required by SAG. 8. Certificate of Free Sale. The certificate indicates that the exporter has an annual food permit to produce, manufacture, distribute and pack food products for human consumption. It states that the plant where the product has been produced or processed is regularly inspected for compliance with all health and sanitation requirements. It also certifies that the products are freely sold and consumed in the United States, as well as exported. The certificate is issued by the appropriate state-level health authorities or the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. The certificate is requested to register the processed food product with the SRD. For registration purposes, the Free Sale Certificate (FSC) should be accompanied by a document that provides an endorsement of the signatures that appear on the FSC. This document can be any of the following: An apostille that certifies that the FSC has been signed by a notary public of the state of origin of the FSC or by an authentication of the FSC by the Honduran Consulate. In both cases, the apostille or authentication should be provided with an official translation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honduras. 9. Product’s Specifications Report. The report provides qualitative and quantitative specifications of the processed product related to its ingredients. The information consists of organoleptic, physical, chemical, biological and microbiological specifications of the processed product and its compliance with international food safety standards. The report is issued by the producer or manufacturing company of the product. The report is requested by the SRD for the registration of the product with them. An official translation of the report should be provided from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honduras. 10. Quality Certificate. The certificate is issued by the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA), an organization of member laboratories. Members include official state, federal and university seed laboratories across the United States. SENASA requires that the analysis reflected in the certificate state that the seed has a germination of no less that 85 percent and that the seed analysis is not longer than six months. Section III. Specific Attestations Required on Export Certificate(s) The certificates and attestation (declaration) listed in Section II above provide the information needed by SENASA and the SRD to comply with the import requirements of Honduras. However, some specific attestations will be requested when the animal or plant health conditions of the exporter country change. SENASA indicates that it is the responsibility of the importer, as well as the exporter to keep themselves updated on any animal or plant pests or diseases outbreaks. A detailed outline of the content of export certificates is provided in Appendix I of this report. Section IV. Government Certificate’s Legal Entry Requirements The legal entry requirements of imports of raw and processed agricultural products are the following: 1. The product should have an import permit before entering the country. The permit is submitted by the importer to SENASA. The import permit request should be accompanied with a copy of the Phyto or Zoo Sanitary Certificate, Certificate of Origin and Pro-Forma Invoice. The request should be clear, with the same amounts, description, origin and point of shipping in all documents. In cases of consumer-ready products, a copy of the Sanitary Registration document issued by the SRD should be included. 2. The importer’s permit request is reviewed in two steps. First, SENASA’s Food Safety Department (DIA) verifies that the importer is registered with them. DIA has a registry of importers of dairy products, beef, pork, poultry and fish establishments that are inspected by them annually. The importer’s establishments have to comply with good agricultural and manufacturing practices to keep the product safe. Second, DIA reviews the documents that accompany the import request to assure their compliance with SENASA’s regulations. 3. The import permit process in SENASA takes from 24 to 72 hours if all documents are in order. The permit is applied to one shipment and is valid for 30 days. In case the permit is not used within 30 days of issuance, the importer requests that SENASA renew the import permit. 4. The processed products must have the sanitary registration number issued by the SRD prior to entering the country. Only food samples to be used for the registration process will be allowed to enter the country without this number. The importer can find the application form for the sanitary registration under the “Procedure to provide Licenses” at 5. Unlabeled containers of food inputs waiting to be processed, labeled, or repacked do not need sanitary registration number to enter. However, in the case of raw poultry to be sold at the retail level, the product must have a sanitary registration number. The label in the boxes with the raw product should display the number. 6. SAG delegated the responsibility of all quarantine inspections and treatment of agricultural imports to the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA). OIRSA’s Plant and Animal Protection Service (SEPA) inspectors are located at borders, ports and airports. They follow SENASA’s instructions to enforce the import requirements of raw and processed foods imports at the time of entry. 7. The SEPA’s Inspector and a Customs Tax Division (DEI) Officer are usually involved in clearing imports of agricultural products. They review the documents and make the inspection of the product. The first document they review is the original import permit authorized by SENASA. The import permit needs to accompany the product at the time of entry. This permit should also include the original of the Phyto or Zoo Sanitary Certificate, the Certificate of Origin and copy of the Pro-Forma Invoice. 8. Prior to granting customs clearance, the SEPA Inspector will conduct the appropriate inspection or will detain the product. The entry of animal products and by-products depends on the food safety conditions of the product itself. It also depends on the exporting country’s current animal health status. 9. Shipment of products that did not go through SENASA’s import permit process are normally detained at the port of entry where product sampling is conducted. The samples are later subjected to laboratory analysis to check the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the product. If the laboratory analysis indicates that the product does not meet acceptable standards, the product may be confiscated and later destroyed, re-exported, or tagged for animal consumption, depending on its condition and characteristics as determined by the authorities. 10. Importers of dairy products with the Harmonized Code (HC) from 04.01 to 04.06 and 1901.10.1 and 1901.90.20 should have an import license issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (SIC). The HC are for milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheeses, baby formula and powdered milk. The import license is obligatory for the completion of each of the above mentioned dairy imports. Importers will need to register only once. The license will have a 60-day validity and can be extended at request of the importer. In order to issue the import license, SIC needs to have copy of the Import Permit that SENASA issues to the importer. SIC has five working days to issue the import license. SIC will assign a number to be used for the import procedure. This number is entered when the importer registers the dairy import in the Customs and Tax Division (DEI) system. Section V. Other Certification/Accreditation Requirements Additional information on product registration and food imports regulations can be found at the Honduras’s Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report at under Attaché Reports. Appendix I. Electronic Copy or Outline of Each Export Certificate The table below indicates the U.S. government agency which provides the export certificates mentioned above: Certificate U.S. Government Agency Certificate for meat and poultry USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) products Certificate for plants and USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service vegetables (APHIS) Certificate for dairy products USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Certificate for live animals USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Certificate for seafood U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Certificate for processed food USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) or Products Certificate of Free Sale from State, Department of Health or Chamber of Commerce Outline of Meat and Poultry Export Certificate of Wholesomeness: (FSIS Form 9060-5) 1. District Office 2. Country of destination 3. MPH number 4. Exported by (Applicant’s name and address including ZIP code) 5. Establishment/Plant number 6. City 7. Consigned to (Name and address including ZIP code) 8. Total marked net weight 9. Total containers 10. Product as labeled 11. Marked weight of lot 12. Number of packages in lot 13. Shipping marks 14. Establishment/Plant number on product 15. Remarks 16. Inspector and District Outline of Health Certificate - Export Certificate - Animal products (APHIS VS form 16-4): 1. Name and address of exporter 2. Name and address of consignee 3. Product (quantity, unit of measure, and kind) 4. Identification 5. Conveyance Outline of Certificate of Quality and Condition (Processed foods): 1. Applicant 2. Address 3. Receiver or buyer 4. Address 5. Source of samples 6. Product inspected 7. Marks on containers 8. Principal label marks 9. Condition 10. Remarks 11. Address of inspection office 12. Signature of inspector Outline of Certificate of Free Sale, Health and Sanitation: 1. Product/consumable item 2. Description 3. Weight 4. Quantity Outline of Export Health Certificate (NOAA Form 89-807) 1. Issuing office 2. Exported by (Applicant’s name and address) 3. Consigned to (Name and address) 4. Shipped via 5. Port of embarkation 6. Port of debarkation 7. Identifying marks 8. Total containers 9. Total marked weight 10. Product 11. Class, type, style 12. Lot No. and code 13. Container size 14. No. cases 15. Lot weight 16. Label brand 17. Results – Remarks 18. Signature of inspector/Inspector No. 19. Official Stamp (Containers stamped with this mark)
Posted: 29 February 2012

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