All imported and marketed products, manufactured or packaged in Panama, whether food, cosmetics, or medicines (for human or animal consumption), must have a sanitary registration and comply with the requirements established for obtaining them. According to Panama laws, these products must have the backing of a responsible company with all the corresponding permits for their import, storage, and distribution.

The National Directorate of Food Control and Veterinary Surveillance (DNCAVV) is the entity in charge of:

  • Checking the safety of products manufactured in Panama for human consumption;
  • Regulating hygienic products for domestic and industrial use, manufactured in Panama or imported to Panama;
  • Establishing control measures for processing plants;
  • Regulating the transportation, storage, and distribution measures of these products, and
  • Regulating imported and exported products by verifying agro-industrial and industrial requirements.

The Panamanian Food Agency is the DNCAVV platform in charge of processing sanitary registrations of imported products for human and animal consumption. This procedure does not require any preliminary analysis and the interested party shall submit the requirements established in article 42 of Executive Decree 125 of September 19, 2021, which regulates Law 206 of 2021. Among the documents to be presented with the application is the Certificate of Free Sale, the technical sheet indicating the formulation of the product, fabrication method, stability studies declaring the half-life of the product, the certificate of analysis, an explanation with an example of the batch used in the products and labels with which the product will be marketed. The latter must comply with the FAO Codex Alimentarius Standards for food, food additives, and packaging. This process takes approximately between 14 to 30 days. The sanitary registration is issued electronically, it can be validated through a QR bar code and is valid for 5 years.

On the other hand, an appointment must be scheduled to make an in-person filing to request sanitary registration for a product for human consumption produced in Panama. Four samples of the product belonging to the same batch must be also submitted. The applicant must have a Sanitary Operating Permit and submit the technical documentation requested in article 5 of Executive Decree 437 of December 28, 2018. In these cases, the process takes approximately 30 to 60 days, and the permit will be valid for 5 years.

To streamline these procedures, the DNCAVV has begun the process of systematizing them online. Some modules are currently in operation, mainly for permits of imported products. The modules for processing sanitary registrations for domestic products are expected to be available by the end of the year.

Lorenzo Marquínez

Partner in  Alcogal

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