Direct from us customs and border services; hope this helps
As an importer, you have the option of hiring a Customs Broker to file your entry with CBP, or you can do it yourself - although there are so many details to handle when importing food items, we strongly advise using a broker. To obtain a list of Customs Brokers, click here to find a port in the state your goods will arrive in. Lists can be found on each individual port page.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), and/or the Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determine the admissibility of various food products imported into the United States. The Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for food products derived from wildlife. CBP enforces those requirements. All commercial imports of food and beverage products require the filing of Prior Notice with FDA and, if the products contain meat, egg, milk, poultry, or other animal origin products, may require permits, health certificates, and/or other specified certifications from the country of origin.
In general, these requirements DO NOT apply to food accompanying a traveler into the U.S. or being sent by an individual - not a business - for personal use. However, you should contact the above mentioned government agencies for their requirements.
Foreign manufacturers and/or distributors of food products mustregister with the FDA before their goods may be admitted
CBP will not release food shipments without proof that prior notice has been filed with FDA. Therefore, it is imperative that the PN satisfied number is submitted to CBP along with the entry documents. The PN satisfied number should be annotated on the shipping documents (i.e. bill of lading or airway bill).
In addition to the prior notice requirement, once the goods arrive in the U.S., FDA may collect a sample or tell CBP to proceed with releasing the shipment. If a sample is in violation of FDA regulations, you will receive a Notice of Detention from FDA. To find out the status of food that has been detained by FDA, call the number referenced on the detention notice or the main number for Import Operations and Policy at (301) 443-6553.
For additional information on the Bio-Terrorism Preparedness and Response Act regulations and assistance with filing prior notice, please contact the Food and Drug Administration at 1-800-216-7331, if outside the U.S. call (301) 575-0156.
To inquire about FDA regulations on food imports, call (301) 436-2413.
If the product you wish to import is a plant or farm animal product, you should consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The product may be prohibited or restricted from entering the United States. To inquire about the admissibility of meats, livestock, poultry and their products intended for resale, call the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Import Division, at (202) 720-9904. This number cannot provide information about personal importations of food products. They can only advise about requirements for commercial (resale) imports.
For fruits, and vegetables call the Plant division of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at (301) 734-8295.
Baked goods, seafood, canned and packaged goods, candy and chocolate, etc. must be labeled with country of origin, ingredients, and nutrition information. For specific information on labeling, please call the Office of Food Labeling at (202) 205-4606.
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