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I began today to look into getting my product officially registered by what would be the equivalent of the FDA here. Ecuador has an extremely onerous process for putting any new food or drug product on the market. Logic would dictate that people and business frequently skirt around it or ignore it altogether.

To sell a new food item, for example, a chocolate truffle, you have to prepare documentation listing all the ingredients, the formula or recipe, the provenance of all the ingredients, the expected shelf life, and the exact packaging to be used. You have to submit samples of the product to a laboratory for testing-an analysis of the “physical-chemical” properties of the item.

Say you have two different flavors of truffle, and each flavor has a different recipe. You are supposed to get a registry number for each individual flavor. Or say you want to change the packaging. You have to resubmit to get a new “sanitary registration” number. The cost for registering each product runs in the hundreds of dollars, and the fees for the laboratory analysis, as well as the help of a consultant to walk you through the process, could easily cost you a $1000 per registry. The entire process can take from four to six months to complete. You need this “registry number” if you plan to sell wholesale to anybody.

I have observed how most small businesses that sell food products get around this. They basically submit one item for analysis and use the registry number for all their products. Nobody seems to care and nobody seems the worse off for it.

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>

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