Congratulations to Flahavans for winning the Exporter of the Year Award 2009 last night; their organic porridge gets me going these dark and damp mornings!
Ummera Smokehouse was one of the Nominees for the Seafood Exporter of the Year Award along with Burren Smokehouse in Co. Clare and Glenmar Shellfish in Co. Cork. The winner was Burren Smokehouse for its success in exporting 60% of its products. Congratulations!
One of the challenges that we, as a small producer and player in the export field, have to face continuously is the amount of paper work; certainly since the EU this has been reduced dramatically for exports within the EU, but move outside the EU and it’s a minefield!
When exporting to the USA, for example, not only do we have to be registered with the US FDA, but for every shipment, be it 1 kg of Smoked Salmon heading over to the US as a Christmas present or a 40′ container, we have to apply to the US for a Prior Notice approval; this can be done on line and is reasonably speedy. However, that’s the easy part. We also have to apply to the Irish SFPA (Sea Food Protection Authority) for a Health Certificate and a Certificate of Origin 48 hours before shipment. The inspector from the SFPA then has to visit us and physically inspect the Smoked Salmon and then issue us with 3 sheets of paper.
Apart from the infuriating delay in waiting 48 hours to get the paperwork, there is also the unbelievable cost factor of sending an inspector from the SFPA to inspect 1 kg of product with a value of €50.00; if it was a pallet or a container, then fair enough but for one small pack! Whilst we enjoy the visit of our inspectors, we do feel that their time would be better employed in more cost effective operations.
It is the “One Shoe Fits All” mentality of bureaucracy that persists in making life very difficult for small producers.