Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

October 10, 2007

Department Hosts Training for Chinese Food Importers

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Food Safety today hosted a half-day educational seminar titled, "Imported Chinese Food Products – Addressing the Concerns." The seminar, co-hosted with Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, was open to distributors of imported Chinese food products and provided attendees with information on import regulations and food safety issues.

"New York has a large and diverse population that demands food products that are equally diverse," said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker. "In the wake of recent recalls and alerts, there is heightened concern for these imported products. We hope this educational seminar helps Chinese food importers and distributors better understand the process and requirements associated with importing food in order to ensure a safer food supply for New York consumers."

The seminar was held in New York City today and included presentations from representatives of federal and state government, industry, and academia. Over 100 food importers, distributors and retailers of imported food participated in the seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to provide basic information to food importers and distributors concerning the import process, issues concerning food safety, and proactive solutions to address these issues.

During the seminar, FDA’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 was reviewed in detail, which requires both domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human consumption to be registered with the FDA. In addition, participants were instructed how to register their establishment with FDA, the proper procedures to importing food and how to adequately keep records of all imports. Labeling issues were addressed as well, emphasizing the need for all labels of imported food to be in English and include the identity of the food; name of manufacturer, packer or distributor; place of business; ingredient declaration and net quantity of contents. Lastly, food recall conduct was discussed, explaining the process and legalities of such actions.

Sponsors of the event included: the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Asian American Business Development Center, Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, the Food Safety Research Lab Inc., the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York District of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are over 120 firms in New York City that specialize in the distribution of Chinese food to processors and retailers.

2007 Press Releases