Background

Temporary Allowances Extended for Import Inspection Establishments

Under Department of Agriculture regulations, all imported product under the jurisdiction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service must be reinspected at an official import inspection establishment before it can enter the U.S. or be moved to another location. However, because of backups at ports due to complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, FSIS has been allowing imported product to be stored at warehouses for up to 30 days until the product can be reinspected at the import establishment. 

This flexibility had been scheduled to expire April 6 but is now being extended through Oct. 6 because the pandemic-related complications are continuing.

Import establishments wishing to participate must submit a request to FSIS inspection program personnel that includes a plan detailing where and how the establishment will maintain control of product stored offsite. The establishment must keep and maintain a log identifying product held offsite that includes sufficient detail to identify each certificate and lot, including documentation of case counts. 

Each lot held offsite must be delivered intact to the designated establishment for reinspection within 30 days of customs entry. FSIS will consider distribution of product from incidental storage prior to reinspection to be a prohibited act by the import establishment. In such cases, FSIS will withhold inspection immediately until the import establishment has taken corrective actions, and it may revoke offsite storage privileges.

Potato Imports from Canadian Province to Resume

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports that Canada is expected to soon resume exporting Prince Edward Island table stock potatoes into the contiguous U.S. APHIS, in turn, will publish a federal order outlining additional required mitigations to protect the U.S. potato industry from potato wart disease. Canadian authorities voluntarily suspended exports of all potatoes for consumption and planting from PEI in November 2021 following a detection of this disease, which is not known to occur in the U.S.

According to APHIS, USDA requirements and Canadian Food Inspection Agency mitigations require that imported table stock potatoes from PEI and the seed potatoes used to produce them must originate from fields not known to be infested with potato wart or associated with known infestations. These potatoes must be washed in PEI to remove soil, treated with a sprout inhibitor, and graded to meet the U.S. No 1 standard. Shipments must be officially inspected by the national plant protection organization of Canada and certified as meeting USDA requirements.

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