American Spice Trade Association.
The American Spice Trade Association is the central element of the spice industry in the United States, promoting its interests and working to expand the American presence in the international spice markets. “The American Spice Trade Association’s members manufacture and market the majority of spices sold in the Unites States at retail and to food processors” . Since the days of its foundation and until present, the American Spice Trade Association has played an increasing role in the American spice industry evolution, changing the industry’s legislative basis and offering spice manufacturers additional opportunities for business growth.
Currently, the Association is actively involved into the process of developing close relations with the government and with other spice companies internationally. The Association is the central element of successful relations between its members and those who are closely related to spice industry in the United States. History At the end of the first decade of the 20th century, federal authorities have come to realizing the need for better legislative restrictions in the area of food and drug manufacturing.
Spice manufacturers were facing a serious challenge: they had to protect their business interests and to align them with the growing need for better sanitary conditions in food manufacturing. On August 7, 1907, the rooms of the Underwriters’ Club in Chicago witnessed the formation of a completely new kind of trade association, which was later called the American Spice Trade Association.
The new trade association had to be headquartered in New York and to perform under New York State Law; by the end of the 1930s the association has turned into organization well known for its arbitration fights and for its persistent striving to revive spice industry that was severely impacted by the Great Depression. “The American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) has played an important role in the evolution of the U. S. spice industry for more than 50 years.
For example, in 1969, the Association adopted its first Cleanliness Specifications for Unprocessed Spices, Seeds and Herbs. ” The role of the Association was increasingly important after the tragic events in Chernobyl: the major portion of spice crops in Eastern Europe was contaminated with radioactive materials. Currently, the Association looks far into the future, being deeply engaged into resolving regulatory and legislative issues that negatively impact the quality of business relations in spice industry. Mission and strategic plan
The official website of the American Spice Trade Association states that “ASTA, the voice of the U. S. spice industry, works to ensure clean, safe spice and address public policy on behalf of the global industry”. In this context, the Association pursues the three strategic objectives: to ensure clean and safe spice through education and standards; to become a well-known and credible authority, which can positively impact the spice industry; and to facilitate international relations, which could further benefit spice industry worldwide.
ASTA is constantly involved into developing and implementing a whole set of legislative procedures that would facilitate and improve the quality of business performance in spice industry in the United States and worldwide. Membership Currently, the Association includes 175 member companies, which grow, dehydrate, or process spices. All Association members are integrally linked to the spice industry in the United States; that means that all Association members are either based in the U. S. , or grow their spice crops in the U. S. , or supply U. S. companies with spices.
The Association offers active membership opportunities to the companies, which are involved into “growing, importation, exportation, processing, blending, trading, distribution, or sale at wholesale or retail of spices or seasonings”. Brokers, agents, importers, traders, growers, and distributors can participate in ASTA on equal terms. Legislative activity and relations with government The Cleanliness Specifications for Unprocessed Spices, Seeds, and Herbs have become the first step toward lobbying the interests of spice manufacturers at the federal level.
Cleanliness Specifications were aimed at improving analytical and sampling procedures used by spice manufacturers in the U. S. In 2003 the Association along with other six trade associations filed a petition to the Federal Food and Drug Administration, requesting to conduct “a notice-and-comment rulemaking in order to implement the marking provision of the Bioterrorism Act”. In other words, American trade associations were striving to clarify the issues of foods and spices denied permission to entry the U. S. territory.
Neither of the trade organizations in the U. S. had a clear definition nor understanding of the way the restricted goods had to be marked. The Association asserted that “the marking provision was not self-effectuating; the most significant substantive gap in the marking provision is that it did not specify the circumstances under which a mark would be required”. As a result of those group activities, the FDA had to reconsider previous marking criteria and to provide Trade associations with marking requirements in substantive and definitive language.
The American Spice Trade Association lobbying and the new Administration The 100 years of the Association’s development and performance have proved the relevance of two-side communication between ASTA and the government. The American Spice Trade Association is actively lobbying its interests to guarantee the achievement of the three strategic objectives by 2010. The year 2008 was marked with the Association’s striving to maintain appropriate legislative balance and to communicate its positions on food safety in Presidential administration and Congress.
The Association has succeeded in forming stable alliances with the FDA; the legislative provisions limiting spice imports and requiring spice manufacturers to pay for import registration in the U. S. were reconsidered at the federal level. The Association has acquired its own seat at the table where issues relating to spice industry are being discussed. ASTA is asked to provide objective feedback on the major changes and legislative acts that may potentially change the balance of forces in the spice market.
“As a result of solid relationships, ASTA was able to get the FDA Food “Czar” and a Member of Congress to speak at the 2008 Legislative / Regulatory Workshop. ” The Association uses its monthly newsletter and the official website as the source and the instrument of delivering critical information to major spice manufacturers; the Government Relations Committee has become the integral element of the association’s organizational structure. The Committee represents strategic interests of ASTA in federal agencies and Congress.
The Association constantly monitors legislative and regulatory changes that may potentially threaten the stability of business performance in the American spice industry. Conclusion The American Spice Trade Association is the central institution protecting the rights of spice manufacturers and importers in the United States. The Association is actively involved into developing positive and mutually beneficial relationships with government and other legislative bodies, and works to promote spice manufacturers’ interests in the U. S. markets.
ASTA is known for its legislative activity; the Association currently includes 175 members, and promotes the importance of clean and safe spices through education and standards. ASTA has become the indispensable element of the American and international spice trade; throughout its long history, the Association has proved its decisions and legislative steps to be of utmost importance for the whole spice industry in the United States. BIBLIOGRAPHY ASTA, 100 years of industry leadership, 2008, retrieved 18 November 2008, http://www. astaspice. org/i4a/pages/index. cfm?
pageid=3291 ASTA, About ASTA, 2008, retrieved 18 November 2008, http://www. astaspice. org/i4a/pages/index. cfm? pageid=3281 ASTA, Government relations, 2008, retrieved 18 November 2008, http://www. astaspice. org/i4a/pages/index. cfm? pageid=3284 ERS, U. S. spice consumption by sector, 2003, retrieved 18 November 2008, http://www. ers. usda. gov/publications/aib709/aib709d. pdf FDA, Citizen petition, 2003, retrieved 18 November 2008, http://www. fda. gov/ohrms/DOCKETS/dailys/03/Feb03/022703/03p-0078-cp00001-vol1. pdf HARRIS, M, ‘Spice it up’, E, 12 May 2001, pp. 8.