The Journey of the Lebanese Zaatar to the USA begins

On 4 October, UNIDO and the Embassy of the Republic of Lebanon to the United States of America brought together two sides of the world in the webinar titled “F.D.A. Regulations and Market Requirements for Promoting Thyme (Zaatar) Exportation to the U.S.”. Experts from the Food & Drugs Association (FDA) and the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) and importers from the United States of America met virtually with Zaatar farmers and producers, in addition to Lebanese stakeholders to discuss the status, trends, and the market requirements to drive more exportation of Zaatar from Lebanon to the USA.

The experts from FDA and ASTA discussed the market structure of herbs and spices in the USA, with particular emphasis on Zaatar. They highlighted the market regulations for protecting public health, analyzing risks, and ensuring the safety of imported food. FDA offered to support future trainings on regulations to Lebanese producers and processors. USA importers on the other hand showed a clear interest in sourcing Zaatar from Lebanon, and the Embassy of Lebanon to the USA expressed its readiness to coordinate between all actors.

In times where Lebanon is facing tough social- economic challenges, the Lebanese agro-industry continues to play a fundamental role to ensure food security as well as maintain stability in the country. This webinar demonstrated a great potential for Lebanese companies to increase their exports and support rural development. Under the UNIDO project “Strengthening job creation and creativity in the agro-industrial sector in Lebanon” financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), UNIDO will continue to support the Lebanese Zaatar industry to increase its footprint in the USA. As stated by Emanuele D’Andrassi, Head of the Economic Office, Embassy of Italy in Lebanon: “Today’s webinar confirms the great attachment of the government of Italy in supporting the productive sector in Lebanon. We believe the agro-industry to be the sector with the most potential for development across the Lebanese economy.”

For more information contact Kjell Sundin (k.sundin [at] unido.org)

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