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Anti-terror law causes confusion

Press Release   •   Dec 04, 2003 15:55 CET

When new anti-terror laws come into force in the US next week, Arla Foods, like all other food producers, must pre-register all products destined for the US.
However, at the time of writing nobody seems to know what information is required.

“It will undoubtedly be quite exciting to export food products into the US over the coming weeks,” says Søren Hendriksen, Head of Department of Arla Foods’ market secretariat, referring wryly to the looming administrative chaos.

Although Arla Foods has already shipped a considerable quantity of its Christmas exports to the United States, the new anti-terror regulations will have come into force by the time the cheese consignment arrives. This means that, in principle, each product code must be accompanied by a so-called Prior Notice. It is the information required for such Prior Notices that the American authorities seem unable to specify before December 12.
“They have, however, signalled that in the early stages, they will handle the lack of information and errors in a lenient manner,” Søren Hendriksen says.

Consequently, the full extent of the administration work needed for meeting the new requirements stemming form the anti-terror legislation remains unclear.
”If we’re to handle it ourselves it will take 1½ to 2 hours to prepare a Prior Notice for a product. Since we will have to make 7-10,000 of these a year, this would require 10-12,000 hours work. “However, hopefully much of the work can be handled by our forwarding agent in American ports, who will be able to do it faster,” Hendriksen says.

The new law aims at preventing terrorists from interfering with imported food products.
Arla Foods exports approximately 10,000 tons cheese and butter to the US every year.