Background

ACE Core Message Set Delayed Until January

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced that it is delaying activation of its core message set flags in the Automated Commercial Environment, which had been scheduled for Aug. 3, 2020, until Jan. 25, 2021.

Once this change is made, APHIS will apply HTSUS flags to alert importers and brokers using ACE to submit electronic customs entries as to whether APHIS import data is or may be required for specified plants, plant products, and animal products. When such a flag is received, importers or brokers using ACE will have to enter the required data to complete their entry in the system. APHIS notes that this will not change what import data is required, only the format in which it is submitted.

In addition, importers and brokers will continue to be responsible for knowing what to file regardless of whether a specific item is flagged in ACE. The APHIS core message set does not allow for de minimis exceptions, APHIS states, and importers and brokers must submit required data for APHIS-regulated products regardless of the size or value of the shipment.

Import Compliance Guide for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued updated guidance intended to help U.S. importers, customs brokers, official import inspection establishments, and others understand and comply with FSIS requirements for importing meat, poultry, and egg products. FSIS encourages interested parties to follow this guidance, which represents current FSIS thinking but will be updated as necessary.

Imported meat, poultry, and egg products must originate from eligible countries and from establishments or plants that are certified to export to the U.S. A country becomes eligible following an equivalence determination process completed by FSIS in coordination with the country’s central competent authority. Foreign establishments or plants become eligible when the CCA certifies to FSIS that they meet requirements equivalent to FSIS requirements. All imported shipments of meat, poultry, and egg products must be presented to FSIS for inspection, with certain exceptions.

This guidance summarizes existing requirements and best practices for compliance. It includes information on presenting and documenting shipments, certification, labeling and marking, sampling, testing and hold pending test results, the refused entry process, import inspection exemptions and resources, and non-regulated products. FSIS has updated the guidance to (1) revise and reorganize a section on industry supply chain best practices, (2) clarify approaches to levels of reinspection, and (3) add information about generic labeling approvals, food defense, slaughter dates on import certification, and barcoding.

New Import Restrictions on Pork from Papua New Guinea

Effective April 1, 2020, APHIS has added Papua New Guinea to the list of regions affected with African swine fever. As a result, imports of pork and pork products from this country, including casings, are prohibited except if processed and treated in accordance with 9 CFR 94.8 or consigned to an APHIS-approved establishment for further processing.

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