The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is acknowledging that it has a deal that satisfies the European Union’s demands for new import requirements on U.S. dairy.

The arrangement is also acceptable to the U.S. dairy industry, which had been concerned that U.S. producers would have to stop exporting to Europe because of onerous and intrusive demands being made by the EU.

U.S. industry sources last week lauded the fix to the problem, and USDA is now confirming that the EU Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety has agreed that the new arrangements will satisfy its demands for new health certificates on U.S. dairy.

AMS says the deal is “based on verbal and written exchanges” with the EU Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety.

Meanwhile, U.S. industry representatives are expressing relief.

“We appreciate the (USDA’s) efforts to find an immediate solution to a long-term problem,” U.S. Dairy Export Council Executive Vice President Jaime Castaneda tells Agri-Pulse. “Negotiations with the EU by a number of agencies in conjunction with efforts by AMS and other regulatory agencies will help the US dairy industry prevent further disruptions to trade.”

AMS says it is making some changes to its export verification program in order to better document for the EU that U.S. dairy is sourced from operations that adhere to requirements under FDA and USDA standards. Those standards are FDA’s Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and USDA’s Milk for Manufacturing Purposes and its Production and Processing.

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“To minimize the impact on the U.S. dairy industry, AMS will implement slight changes to its current program to check existing records at milk processing plants or dairy cooperative milk suppliers,” the agency said. “Additional details and instructions on these new EU certificates are under development and will be made available on the AMS website."

AMS has several months to get the new procedures in place. The European Commission agreed last week week to push back the deadline for new health certificate requirements on U.S. dairy products from Aug. 21 to Jan. 15.

The U.S. ships about $100 million worth of dairy each year to the EU, despite tariffs and restrictive licensing requirements. The EU uses those products to make hundreds of millions of dollars in other goods such as infant and adult nutritional products.

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