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USDA Receives Petition Requesting Amendment to Import for Personal Consumption Regulation

  • Any product under USDA jurisdiction “which was purchased by the importer outside the United States for his/her own consumption,” and in a quantity of no more than 50 pounds, can be imported into the U.S. without compliance with the regulations relating to imported products in 9 CFR, Part 327, which require, among other things, a foreign inspection certificate. See 9 CFR 327.16.  Such a product could, however, be subject to other import laws, including the regulations in 9 CFR, Part 94 relating to various animal diseases (e.g., BSE).

  • TopIceland, an Icelandic company which sells Icelandic food product abroad, filed a petition last month which requests that USDA amend the regulation to clarify that food products which are purchased online are eligible for this exemption. The petition follows the seizure of several shipments of their products for failure to comply with the regulatory requirements for commercial import.

  • In support of their petition, TopIceland cites FDA guidance on “personal importation” which does not distinguish between the mode of delivery and encompasses products which are “shipped by courier or international mail.”

  • USDA has acknowledged the petition, although it is unlikely to substantively respond anytime soon as there is no mandated time for its response, and it has a backlog of petitions to which it has not responded.

© 2023 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 340
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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