On October 12, 2011, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a final notice amending the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR) and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) to authorize the exportation and re-exportation of “food” to individuals and entities in Iran and Sudan. This change is effective immediately on publication. The Federal Register Notice can be accessed here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011- 10-12/html/2011-26175.htm.

Prior to this change, all exports of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices to Iran and Sudan required a one-year license from OFAC under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Act of 2000 (TSRA). The TSRA prohibits the President from imposing a unilateral agricultural sanction against a foreign country or entity with certain exceptions. Non-food agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices continue to require specific licenses, and the general license does not authorize exports or reexports of food intended for Iranian or Sudanese military or law enforcement agencies or Specially Designated Nationals.

During a periodic review of its TSRA licensing procedures, OFAC determined to remove the specific license requirement for exports of food with certain exceptions and to authorize, by general license, the exportation and re-exportation to Iran and Sudan those agricultural commodities that constitute food. OFAC defines food as “items that are intended to be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans or animals.” “Food” also includes:

  • Vitamins and minerals;
  • Food additives and supplements;
  • Bottled drinking water;
  • Seeds used to produce food; and
  • Various bulk agricultural commodities (e.g., durum wheat, various forms of rice, various kinds of oil, such as rapeseed oil).

The definitions specify that food does not include alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, gum or fertilizer. Further, the general licenses do not authorize the exportation or re-exportation of castor beans, castor bean seeds, raw eggs, fertilized eggs (other than fish and shrimp roe), dried egg albumin, live animals, Rosary/Jequirity peas, non-food-grade gelatin powder, and peptones and their derivatives, due to potentially harmful uses of those products.