Imports of Food Products Subject to New Requirements

On March 31, 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a letter to the Trade outlining the new import permit process for USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)-exempted food products containing small amounts (less than two percent) of meat and/or poultry ingredients. 

All import permit applications for FSIS-exempted food products containing small amounts of meat and poultry ingredients submitted to APHIS after June 22, 2009 will be reviewed by FSIS before APHIS can issue an import permit. The new rules mandate that, after the permit applications are submitted to APHIS, they must be approved by FSIS to ensure that meat and poultry ingredients in such food products originate from eligible sources (i.e. prepared under FSIS supervision or in a foreign establishment certified by a foreign inspection system approved by FSIS). Importers will now be required to provide evidence directly to FSIS to support the origin of the meat and poultry ingredients used in the food products identified on the APHIS permit application. 

Failure to provide such source documentation will lead to FSIS advising APHIS that the products are ineligible for entry into U.S. commerce, and an import permit will be denied. 

Furthermore, APHIS has informed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that a USDA import permit will now be required for FSIS-exempted food products containing small smounts of meat and/or poultry ingredients from countries considered by USDA to be affected with animal diseases of concern. Products from such countries that previously entered under a health certificate indicating product being concentrated for boiling (e.g. bouillon cubes, extracts, or soup mixes), will now require a USDA import permit. Customs will begin enforcing this APHIS policy on June 22, 2009.

A list of countries eligible to export meat, poultry or processed egg products to the U.S. can be found here