If you're ready to begin importing perishables into the United States, you'll want to be sure that you've completed all the necessary paperwork correctly and on time, and that you understand the regulations and requirements for clearing such time-sensitive cargo. Customized Brokers is pleased to offer the following resources to help first-time importers comply with FDA, USDA, USDA-AMS and FWS requirements.
We've made available all the First-Time Importer Forms you'll need and can provide consultation for importing perishables - such as food and refrigerated cargo - into the United States throughout the process. Adding us to your team can help expedite your cargo, keep you in compliance, and eliminate delays and unnecessary fees.
Customs Border Protection (CBP)
- Continuous Annual Customs Bond
Please allow up to three weeks for Bonds to be processed. In lieu of the Continuous Bond, a single-entry Bond can be used per entry. Get started by downloading the bond application form, here:
- Customs Entries Documentation
The following documentation is required for all Customs Entries:
- ISF (Importer Security Filing) 10+2, 24 hours prior to container loading the vessel at port of origin (Ocean cargo only).
- Legible copy of the Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
- Notify Party must state Customized Brokers
- Commercial Invoice (must include the following)
- Must be in English
- Port of Entry
- Shipper Name & FDA Registration number
- Receiver Name
- Description of Merchandise
- Quantity: weight & measures
- Purchase price in currency of sale
- Country of Origin
- If product is for consumption or otherwise
Depending on the commodity and Country of origin, there may be other required documents for USDA release such as Phytosanitary Certificate, Certificate of Origin, PPQ Form 203 (Treatment Certificate), etc. Contact Us for exact requirements that apply to your import needs.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- FDA Agent Representation
Any exporter / packing facility must be registered with the FDA, and will be asked to provide an FDA registration number on all submitted documents. If no U.S. representation is available, Customized Brokers is qualified to serve as an FDA agent on your behalf.
- FDA Red List Removal
Shippers/Exporters on ‘Automatic Detention’ also known as ‘Detention without Physical Examination’ (DWPE) can petition to be removed from the FDA Red List.
In order for the FDA to consider removing a product and/or firm from DWPE, they must have evidence that conditions that caused previous violations have been resolved and be given confidence that future entries will be in compliance with the Act.
Click here for the necessary steps to be removed from the DWPE list.
- FDA Food Facility Registration
FDA Food Facility Registration information must be kept current and up-to-date. If the facility is physically relocating, the firm must cancel the registration and create a new one.
New FDA Facility Registration requirements have been published. Ensure compliance by downloading the update of the FSMA FAQ due between October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 here:
- Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
Download important information and timelines with regards to FSMA here:
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- USDA Import Permit
Customized Brokers has the permission required to apply for your USDA Import Permit. It is necessary to list your products by country of origin.
- Agriculture Marketing Service
Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 provides that when certain domestically produced commodities are regulated by a federal marketing order, imports of the commodity must meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality and maturity requirements. Commodities covered by Section 8e.
Grading and quality inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is required for each lot (shipment) imported. Any person, who violates any provision of Section 8e, or any regulation, is subject to fines and/or penalties. The importer of records along with their warehouse handles grading arrangements.
View the USDA's Fresh Production Inspection - Destination Market Inspection Fees.
- USDA Quarterly Update - Port Everglades, FL
Stay updated on USDA requirements and pertinent information regarding perishable cargo in Port Everglades, FL. Download their presentation here:
- Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Requirements
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act (2002 Appropriations), and the Food,
Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) to require retailers to notify their
customers of the country of origin of covered commodities (COOL).
Get familiar with the USDA's COOL requirements and commodities with the Federal Register.
- USDA Fumigation Requirements
- Cargo must be palletized
- To fit fumigation equipment there must be 20-24 inches from the top of the pallet to the roof of the container and an open isle in the middle of the container for the fumigation tube.
Please be sure to review the above USDA fumigation requirements. Container reconditioning for fumigation is at an all time high. If containers do not come ready for fumigation, they are required to go through palletizing and re-stacking. This can create additional costs and delays for the Shippers/Importers of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If containers are loaded as such this will minimize your chances of cargo reconditioning.
- Plastic Packing Requirements
USDA requires that plastic bags be perforated or the bags be removed prior to fumigation.
If you wish to ship cargo wrapped in plastic in order to avoid cargo reconditioning, be sure to download the following regulations:
This process is very expensive and can take from 4-26 hours depending on the volume of the cargo and the amount of cargo wrapped in plastic.
Additional Important Information
Registration Names and Addresses
We recommend that the same name and address format (MID) is always maintained to match your registration. This will help to ensure that your cargo will be recognized by Customs and will reduce the number of unnecessary delays and increased samplings.
Photo and Federal Tax Identification
A copy of your photo identification document and Federal Tax ID is required for Customized Brokers to clear your cargo.
First-Time Importer Forms available here.
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