5 June 2020
This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to advise of Thailand Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes to their residue testing on imports of fresh fruit and vegetables scheduled to be implemented 15 June 2020.
These changes may result in additional costs, requirements and delays clearing the border.
Summary of changes and key points
- Thailand FDA have published a Guideline for implementing surveillance measures for imported fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Currently this is published only in Thai. An unofficial English translation of the web page is provided in Annex 1.
- Implementation is scheduled for 15 June 2020.
- The department is seeking more information and clarification from the Thai FDA and will update industry if more information becomes available.
- In the meantime, the department recommends exporters monitor the Thai FDA webpage regularly and contact your importer for more information.
If you have any questions regarding this IAN please email Jenna Garwood.
Plant Export Operations Branch
Annex 1: Guideline for monitoring imported fruits and vegetables that may contain chemical residues to be implemented by FDA stations at the ports of entry (for importers)
On 27 December 2019, the Ministry of Public Health announced that the year 2020 shall be the Year of Food Safety as a national agenda. Then, on 24 January 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the Explanation Re: Monitoring of fruits and vegetables that may contain chemical residues, including production, importation and sales.
Testing for chemical residues and checking the labelling for fruits and vegetables at the FDA port shall occur for every incoming shipment, unless the importer can present a certificate of analysis (CoA) issued by the authority in the source country or by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited private laboratory. The Bureau of Export and Import, FDA, therefore, issued this guideline for monitoring imported fruits and vegetables that may contain chemical residues to be implemented by FDA ports (for importers).
- This measure is in accordance with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) notifications
1) Re: Food Containing Pesticide Residues (Pesticide Residues in Food) and
2) Re: The Requirements for Production Processes, Production Equipment, Storage and Labelling of Some Fresh Fruits or Vegetables, with the virtue of the National Food Act B.E 2522 (1979) and MOPH notification Re: Testing of Food Imported into the Thailand dated 13 June 2016.
- All fresh fruits and vegetables are required to comply with the FDA’s Explanation. Dried and frozen fruits and vegetables are excluded.
- The Bureau of Export and Import, FDA, has published the following information:
3.1 List of 134 hazardous substances that is compiled from the 132 substances which can be tested by the Thailand Department of Medical Sciences, plus paraquat and glyphosate.
3.2 List of fruits and vegetables on which chemical residues have been detected. This informs officials and importers of the types of products and the exporters that may pose a risk for chemical residues. This list was compiled from products where chemical residues have been detected at a level exceeding the regulation. Exporters and source countries are from FDA’s detention system.
- The Bureau has classified fresh fruits and vegetables into 3 groups as follows.
4.1 “Very high risk” means fresh fruits and vegetables that appear in the list of fresh fruits and vegetables that detected with chemical residues.
4.2 “High risk” means fresh fruits and vegetables that have a record of non-compliance higher than 20 percent in 2018-2019 from FDA’s testing record.
Top 5 items include
Vegetables: pea, celery, coriander, Chinese kale and Chinese spinach
Fruits: cherry, citrus, strawberry, table grapes and dragon fruit
4.3 “Low risk” means fresh fruits and vegetables that have a record of non-compliance lower than 20 percent in 2018-2019 from FDA’s testing record, and do not appear in the very high risk nor high risk lists.
- The Bureau will implement the measure as per the risk level, from very high to low, respectively.
- If the importers of fresh fruits and vegetables can provide the certificate of analysis (COA) issued by the government authority in source country or a laboratory endorsed by the government authority or a ISO/IEC 17025 accredited private laboratory, demonstrating that products comply with the regulation, they shall be exempted from the implementation under 5.
Process for importers
- To check if the product and producer/exporter falls under ‘very high risk’ from the list of fruits and vegetables that have been detected with chemical residues, posted on the official website of the Bureau. If contained in the list, FDA inspectors at the FDA ports will take a sample and send it for testing at the government laboratory or an ISO/ IEC 17025 laboratory. The consignment will be:
1.1 Considering the storage at the port and the need of importer, if FDA official think that the consignment can wait until the testing result is available, then consignment will be held at the port. The cost of storage will be borne by the importer.
- If the testing result complies with the regulation, the customs process can be proceeded.
- If the testing result does not comply with the regulation, the consignment will be rejected.
1.2 Considering the storage at the port and the need of importer, if FDA official think that the consignment cannot wait until the testing result is available, the importer must express their request in writing to not wait for the testing result with justification with the condition that ‘The importer must agree for the consignment to be detained at the importer’s premise as per the import license until the consignment is released for further process’.
- If the importers of fresh fruits and vegetables can provide the certificate of analysis (COA)
2.1 If included in the list before the date of FDA Explanation Re: Monitoring fruits and vegetables which may contain chemical residues (before 24 January 2020), the product shall be excluded from this guideline and importers may provide COA for the chemicals detected previously.
2.2 If included in the list after the date of FDA explanation Re: Monitoring fruits and vegetables which may contain chemical residues (after 24 January 2020), the COA must show the testing result for the134 substances.
- If product is the high risk, the FDA inspector will take a sample for testing at the laboratory for the 134 substances and then, the import can proceed through the customs process.
- If product is not in very high risk nor high risk, it shall be treated as low risk. The FDA inspector will take a sample for testing by GT-Pesticide test kit and GPO TM/2 kit, then the import can proceed through the customs process. If the preliminary test results suggest non-compliance, FDA will send the remaining sample for testing for the 134 substances at the laboratory.
- If the importer does not want the FDA official to undertake the process outlined in 3. and 4., they may provide the certificate of analysis (COA), reporting on the 134 substances, issued by the government authority in source country or a laboratory endorsed by the government authority or a ISO/IEC 17025 accredited private laboratory.
- If product falls under the MOPH notification Re: The Requirements for Production Processes, Production Equipment, Storage and Labelling of Some Fresh Fruits or Vegetables, the importer shall provide a packinghouse certificate issued by the competent authority or other organisation recognized by the competent authority, or a certifying body (CB) recognized by the accredited body that is a member and recognised by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
6.1 An original; or
6.2 A copy that must be verified by the issuing organisation or the embassy of source country in Thailand or a government organization in source country or the organisation endorsed by government of source country such as Notary public / Chamber of commerce / Commissioner of Oaths / Justice of Peace etc.
6.3 Other documents such as a Health certificate, a Certificate of Free Sale, if there is a statement covering the sorting and packing process until fruits are packed into packaging, issued by the government organisation can be used for this purpose as well.
- The label for fresh fruits and vegetables under 6 shall include the producer name, location, source country and product name to facilitate the official to check the certificate.