APHIS – We Are from the Government and We Are Here to Hinder You
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – APHIS. An organization that strikes fear into the heart of most pet food and pet treat exporters. APHIS’ clear mission appears to be to obstruct and reduce American exports of pet foods and treats. What else can account for their attitude and approach to Health Certificates, Plant Inspections, and EU Certification.? At every turn, at every opportunity APHIS takes an antagonistic approach to American exporters.
Each state office interprets regulations differently. Where one state APHIS office will readily issue a health certificate, another state office will refuse to issue a certificate for the same product with the same documentation. And Heaven forbid that an APHIS veterinarian be replaced … the new APHIS veterinarian will have a completely different approach. And now you have to try and explain to an overseas customer why you can no longer ship to them because the new veterinarian interprets the regulations differently. And the net result, empty shelves and another brand replaces you. What do you say to your overseas distributor that invested years and time into developing your brand?
Trying to get EU Certified? Good luck. Once you finally get to the point of sending in your application, the inspector will stop at the first mistake or concern and return everything back to you. Why not review the entire application and point out all the issues that need to be addressed? This would save so much time. There are potential accounts in the EU that must wait literally years as APHIS conducts their certification process. The only bright spot is that this year, processors did not lose their certification while APHIS went through the annual recertification process. Perhaps it was the 29% drop in pet food exports to the EU over a two-year period. Proof positive that APHIS is our greatest export barrier. And is it any wonder that European companies are shy of importing American brands while American brands are having more and more pet food produced in Europe?
Please do not try complaining to APHIS or asking your congressperson for help. A more vindictive government agency would be hard to find. And the Department of Agriculture’s attitude is that APHIS is an organization apart. So while the USDA spends our tax dollars to promote exports, they will do nothing to intercede on our behalf when APHIS blocks exports.
Dependent upon an antagonistic, vindictive government organization that lacks continuity from state-to-state and from veterinarian-to-veterinarian. Producers unable to voice their discontent. It’s enough to make me a Tea-Party Republican.