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How to Import Food into the United States

How to Import Food into the United States

To import food into the Unites States, besides U.S. Customs, you need to understand requirements and restrictions associated with the process with other PGA's. Importing food is a more complicated process than importing other products due to the fact that these commodities are related to public health and safety directly. Below are the PGA agencies that regulate food imports on a regular basis.

  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • FDA requires that all imported food must be safe, sanitary, and properly labeled. In addition, foreign facilities that produce, store, or otherwise handle the products must register with FDA.

  • Importer food products are subject to FDA inspection when offered for import at U.S. ports of entry. FDA may detain/refuse shipments of products offered for import if the shipments are found to be in non-compliance with U.S. requirements.

  • FDA also requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that each food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards, unless exemptions apply.

  1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) of USDA regulates the import of meat, poultry and processed egg products. Only certain countries and establishments are eligible to export meat, poultry and egg products to the US.

  • APHIS is also in charge of regulating the import of animals, animal products, fruit, vegetables, plant, and many other agricultural products. USDA may require a written permit for importing these products.

  1. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)

  • Any living or dead wild animal, its parts, and products made from it are regulated by FWS. Wildlife not only includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, but also invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, arthropods, mollusks and coelenterates.

  • Some wildlife species can't be imported

  • Importers must be licensed with FWS in order to import

  1. International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce

  • Some food products such garlic and ginger are trade sensitive and could subject to antidumping and/or countervailing

It is important for your company to know and follow the laws, regulations, and procedures when importing food into the United States. At ACCB, we make certain our clients understand the process and assist our clients in identifying appropriate actions and responses to make your import as smooth as possible.

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