CBP Special Requirements for Import Foods or Agricultural Commodities
Are you planning to import agricultural commodities into the U.S. but not sure whether
they are allowed entry into the country or not?
In this article we cover 4 types of agricultural commodities that must meet the
requirements laid down by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department
of Agriculture (USDA) to Import Foods.
At the time of purchasing merchandise from a foreign exporter, you should ensure that
as an importer from United States, the following information are met:
• All necessary information regarding packing, labeling, pricing etc., and also
• Make all the necessary arrangements for entry of merchandise into the United
1. Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts:
Agricultural commodities, such as, Avocados, Fresh Tomatoes, Limes, Mangoes,
Oranges, Cucumbers, Grapefruit, Green Peppers, Eggplants, Irish Potatoes, Dry Onions,
Prunes, Processed Dates, Raisins, Olives in tins, Walnuts and Filberts must meet U.S.
import requirements in terms of their grade, quality, size, and maturity. These
commodities will be inspected when they arrive at the U.S. port of entry and an
inspection certificate will be issued by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
indicating import compliance.
Inquiries and additional information about general requirements of import Foods should be addressed
to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Additional restrictions may be imposed by
FDA and USDA. Also some company must be C TPAT certified
2. Cheese, Milk, and Dairy Products
All cheese and cheese products must comply with the requirements of FDA and USDA.
Most of the cheese imports requires U.S. importers to get an import license. Cheese
imports are also subject to quotas that are administered by U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, located in Washington. Import of milk and
cream is subject to certain requirements provided under the Import Milk Act and the
Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
3. Livestock and Animals:
U.S. importers must comply with the inspection and quarantine requirements laid
down by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Importers are
required to get a permit of importation from APHIS before shipping either of the
following livestock or animals from the country of origin.
• Horses, mules, asses, and zebras;
• All cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, cattle, deer, camels, antelope, giraffes;
• Swine including varieties of wild hogs and meat from such animals;
• Hay and straw.
• All avian species including poultry and pet birds;
• Animal by-products, including untanned hides, hair, wool, bones, bone meal, animal
casings, blood meal, glands, organs, extracts, or secretions of swine, and
• Animal germplasm, including semen and embryos.
In addition to an import permit, U.S. importers are also required to obtain a veterinary
health certificate. Entry of certain animals is restricted to specific U.S ports that are
designated as quarantine stations. All non-domesticated animals must also meet the
requirements of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Insects that are alive (also those in the form of eggs, pupae or larvae) and are injurious
to cultivated field crops, vegetables, bush fruits, orchard, forest or shade trees are
prohibited from importation, but except for scientific purposes and under strict
regulations prescribed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Packages that contain either live insects or may contain their eggs, pupae, or larvae
that do not injure crops or trees in any way are permitted entry into the United States
if they are not prohibited by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have received a permit
that is issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection of the U.S. Department of
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