Agricultural imports, Import and Export Experts, Shipping Logistics, Supply Chain

Importing Agricultural Goods into the U.S.

Coffee beans in bags. Fresh coffee beans

Before importing agricultural products into the United States, you need to be aware of many regulations. Guidelines to import can be extensive; this article will give you a basic understanding of what to expect. Agricultural goods are products derived from animals or crops used for human consumption and sustainability. Some examples include fruits, vegetables, livestock, raw materials, fuel, etc. This article will describe the general process for importing. However, call A1 Worldwide Logistics at 305-821-8995 for a comprehensive explanation.

FDA Requirements for Importing Agricultural Goods

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that food and medicine coming into the U.S. meet safety requirements. To begin importing into the U.S., you must register your facility with the FDA. Your “facility” is where the agricultural good was manufactured and packaged before being imported. Failure to register with the FDA may result in civil penalties such as detention holds and fines for your product. After registering, the FDA will assign you an agent to inspect and ensure that your products meet safety requirements. It is also necessary to have all the required permits for importing your goods. Find a customs broker to learn more about the permits and documents needed.

The importer has to send prior notice documents no more than 15 days before the goods arrive at the U.S. Information such as registration number, country of origin, product code, and more should be on the prior notice documents. The FDA also requires that your fruits and vegetables are appropriately labeled before entering the U.S. The types of label formats permissible by the FDA depend on the packaging and type of product. Once the goods arrive at a port of entry, a customs agent will inspect them before being released. The inspection prevents potential threats such as diseases, pests, and other threats from entering the U.S.

USDA Requirements for Importing Agricultural Goods

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforces its regulations for importing agricultural goods as well. The USDA has different rules and services depending on the agricultural cargo imported. For example, the USDA has the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for poultry, meat, and egg products. The FSIS makes sure that meat and egg products are safe for import into the U.S. The guidelines depend on the type of import; however, the eligibility depends on the country. The country has to be certified by the FSIS to allow importation into the U.S.

Countries that are certified have a certain number of goods eligible for importation which the FSIS determines using three categories. The three categories are Process Category, Product Category, and Product Group. Goods that are qualified for importation also have labeling and permit requirements based on the product. Similar to FSIS, the USDA also has the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), regulating plant importation. The NPPO ensures that the fruits and vegetables imported into the U.S. have the correct permit and certificate.

Once the agricultural goods reach the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection will ensure that you have the correct paperwork filled out. Finally, the imported goods will be moved to an import establishment for inspection before being released. If you need a customs broker to assist with the paperwork, contact A1 Worldwide Logistics at 305-821-8995. Our experts will guide you through the importation process and answer any questions.


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