US Saves Peruvians’ Christmas-New Year’s Turkey Dinner

PERU - One of Peru’s largest supermarket chains contacted FAS Lima on 6 December 2013, requesting its assistance for the release of a 23-tonne container load (FCL) of US-origin frozen premium young turkeys.
calendar icon 6 January 2014
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The shipment had been detained by SENASA (Peru’s Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary authority) at the port of Callao due to packing date labeling concerns. SENASA claimed that the packing labels lacked a packing date; requesting consequently a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) amendment letter.

The Miami, Florida-based supplier, at the behest of the importer, supplied FAS Lima with documentation from North Carolina’s Prestige Farms (manufacturer) attesting to the packing date (in the Gregorian dating system - YYMMDD). The importer informed FAS Lima that the SENASA’s port inspector was misinterpreting the packing label data by focusing solely on the Julian dating system (DDDYY) date reflected in the lot code number.

To resolve the problem, FAS Lima submitted an official letter to SENASA’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO); attaching Prestige Farms’ Quality Assurance Manager’s certification and explanation regarding the packaging date (Gregorian format).

FAS Lima clarified in its communication with SANESA’s CVO that the US sanitary agency (i.e., FSIS) itself requires this same information (found below the product’s bar code on the packing label) for traceability purposes. FAS Lima subsequently arranged a three-way teleconference with SANESA and FSIS to clarify the location of the packing date information on the label.

FSIS went on to issue an amendment letter, as well as modified its Peru’s requirements in the FSIS export library to include: "Immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining that the date is the "packing" date (i.e., "Packed On," "Date of Packing," etc.)."

FAS Lima’s ability to work effectively with its SANESA contacts, along with FSIS Washington’s assistance, was instrumental in allowing the shipment to clear customs in time for the importer’s Christmas/ New Year’s promotional launch of this new-to-market product.

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