The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued Jan. 5 a notice providing instructions to its inspection program personnel (IPP) on new alternatives available to establishments for marking consignments with the USDA export stamp. This stamp is a hand stamp or computer-generated sticker that bears the export certificate number and is used to link a consignment to its corresponding export certificate.

New Marking Options. FSIS previously required establishments to apply this stamp to each outside container within a consignment intended for export. However, FSIS now states that exporters may also apply the stamp to a securely enclosed pallet or pallets within the consignment (e.g., shrink-wrapped or other effective means) or the closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment (e.g. truck, rail car, or ocean container). However, if the FSIS Export Library does not state that the importing country accepts pallet or conveyance export stamping, the stamp may not be applied in this manner.

Return of Exports. Any product marked according to the options set forth above is not eligible to return to U.S. commerce once it has been entered into foreign commerce unless the entire shipment is returned intact bearing the marks applied at the time of export that connect the product to a FSIS-issued U.S. export certificate.

Split or Consolidated Shipments. IPP are to verify that the export stamp, regardless of how it is applied, links the consignment to the corresponding export certificate. If an establishment wishes to split a shipment with stamped pallets or conveyances into multiple shipments or consolidate such a shipment into another, and the original stamp no longer links the shipment to the certificate, IPP are to treat the split or consolidated shipment as a new consignment. As a result, the exporter will have to submit a new application for export certification and apply a new export stamp that links the split or consolidated consignment to the export certificate.

Pre-Stamping. IPP may permit an establishment to stamp an outside container, pallet, or conveyance and complete the export certificate when he or she is not present (pre-stamp). However, IPP are to verify that the establishment can ensure the stamp will be applied in a clear and legible manner only to outside containers, pallets, or conveyances that contain product in sound condition before authorizing the establishment’s pre-stamp procedure. IPP may perform reinspection of consignments at any time as necessary.

Stickers. IPP may allow an establishment to use a computer-generated export stamp (sticker) as long as the establishment identifies the number of stickers produced before applying them to product and provides IPP with any unused stickers. Stickers need to tightly adhere to the outer surface of the container or secure wrapping of the pallet.

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