Managua, December 10, 2015
I am pleased to see our countries work together to improve Nicaragua’s competiveness and its economy as part of our commitment to assist Nicaragua engage in the global economy and benefit from the CAFTA-DR trade agreement.
The purpose of this workshop is to address the recent rules of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed into law in 2011. These rules work together in a risk-based way to systematically prevent food contamination throughout the food production process, strengthen the food safety system, and better protect the public. Over the next two days, you will gain a better understanding of FSMA and engage in an open discussion with technical experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Texas Tech University, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). These new regulations were created with very significant input from stakeholders and the success of FSMA depends upon of strong partnerships with industry and foreign governments such as the Government of Nicaragua to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated food products. The FDA will continue to provide outreach and information to all stakeholders — including international stakeholders — throughout implementation of these regulations. This workshop is a result of the commitment of the U.S. Government towards transparency about these new regulations.
Nicaragua is a rich country in many ways: natural resources, people, and food among many other things. Nicaraguans produce a variety of fine products for both local consumption and export. I have yet to try all of your food products around the country. However, unlike many U.S. consumers, I have the benefit of having the next couple of years in Nicaragua to accomplish that. They on the other hand, need your products in their homes. For this to happen, Nicaraguan producers and regulators need to have a full understanding of FSMA and its regulations in order to minimize the risk to consumers and facilitate exports of Nicaraguan products to the Unites States.
I hope you benefit from this session and I look forward to continue to supporting Nicaraguan exporters and agricultural producers. Thank you.