Food Control: Changes Consulted in Panama

With the aim of reaching consensus with the business sector, local authorities began the process of consultations regarding the bill that seeks to eliminate the Panamanian Food Safety Authority.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The plans of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) are to abolish the Panamanian Food Security Authority (Aupsa) and create the National Food Export and Import Procedures Service (SENTA), which will limit itself to executing the policies emanating from MIDA and MINSA.

You may be interested in "Imports of Food Inputs Up 6%"

Before the project enters the first debate, the content of the project was exposed before the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Panama where it was highlighted before the members of the Board of Directors the benefits of the initiative that seeks to curb excessive imports that have done so much damage to agricultural heritage, explains a statement from MIDA.

The official document states that "... SENTA will not issue technical criteria, nor will it take decisions regarding food safety, plant health or animal health; the procedures will be expedited and executed on a technological basis, both for the export and import of food; for which, a Single Window will be created that will serve as a link between the Ministries of Commerce and Industries, MIDA and MINSA. In addition, SENTA will strengthen the systems of analysis and laboratory services."

This period of consultations takes place after the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) expressed its concern on November 27th for the Bill 164 "that creates the National Service of Procedures for the Exportation and Importation of Food (SENTA) and dictates other dispositions", since in the opinion of the dome, beyond eliminating the Aupsa, the technical work required for the processes of control of the sector is weakened, putting in risk both the imports and the exports of the country.

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More on this topic

Goodbye Aupsa, Hello APA

March 2021

The Panamanian president approved the bill that creates the Agencia Panamena de Alimentos (Panamanian Food Agency) and repeals Decree Law 11 of 2006, which created the Panamanian Food Safety Authority.

The new law establishes that the constitutional competencies related to phytosanitary and zoosanitary measures return to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) with the objective of protecting the national agricultural patrimony, to the Ministry of Health the competencies related to food safety, the control of zoonoses and food-borne diseases (ETA), while the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, the one related to Copanit technical standards and the administration of compliance with international trade agreements, details an official statement.

Veto of Controversial Food Law in Panama

June 2017

The bill to reform the decree that created the Panamanian Food Authority has been vetoed by President Varela, amid pressure from the agricultural sector.

The presidential veto over the bill comes days after the Panamanian guild of private companies asked the executive branch to intervene, amid protests by agricultural producers in the province of Chiriquí. 

Panama: Bureaucracy Decides When and What you Eat

April 2015

A new law eliminates the period of 150 days for the authorities to respond to an import request, and requires wait for the process to be completed without being able to import the food, until they have received a response.

The newly approved law only needs sanctioning or a presidential veto and aims to prevent the importation of agricultural products in the seasons when those products are being harvested in the country.

Panama: New Regulator for Food Imports

April 2015

A law passed by the Assembly has created the Panamanian Food Safety Authority, which will regulate the import of agricultural products.

From a statement issued by the National Assembly of Panama:

The Panamanian Food Safety Authority (AUPSA) is the body responsible for maintaining controls on food imports, and in coordination with the Ministry of Health, will carry out further controls on imported products available to consumers.

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