Egg Import Requirements Revised

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a final rule making a number of changes to the egg products inspection regulations, including aligning the import requirements for eggs and egg products more closely with those for meat and poultry products. Most of the changes in this rule will be effective Dec. 28.

The import-related changes in this rule include the following.

- adding definitions of certain basic terms, including “import,” “offered for entry,” “entry,” and “official import inspection establishment”

- establishing the identity of inspected and passed imported egg products as domestic products

- establishing the process and criteria FSIS will follow to evaluate the equivalence of the inspection programs of foreign countries interested in gaining eligibility to export egg products to the U.S.

- requiring each imported consignment to have an electronic foreign inspection certification or a paper foreign inspection certificate issued by an official of the foreign government agency responsible for the inspection and certification of the product

- requiring applicants to submit an import inspection application to apply for the inspection of any products offered for entry

- requiring official import inspection establishments to reinspect egg products offered for entry from any foreign country before those products may be allowed entry into the U.S.

- allowing egg products to be delivered to the importer or its agent prior to inspection if the importer furnishes a bond that the products will be returned to the port if so demanded

- establishing official inspection marks for imported egg products that are the same as those applied to imported meat and poultry products

- outlining a procedure for the pre-stamping of official marks of inspection on product containers prior to the completion of an inspection assignment

- clarifying procedures for the treatment and handling of imported egg products identified as “U.S. Refused Entry”

- permitting only those egg products that have been refused entry into the U.S. solely because of misbranding to be brought in compliance with the labeling requirements of 9 CFR chapter III

- including shipping or identification marks among the list of required items for the labeling of imported egg products shipping containers

- permitting the re-entry of inspected and passed egg products from foreign countries if they are not adulterated or misbranded at the time of such return

Citrus from South Africa

Effective Nov. 5, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is allowing citrus (grapefruit, lemon, mandarin orange, sweet orange, tangelo, and Satsuma mandarin) fruit from South Africa to be imported into all U.S. ports of entry. Previously such imports were only allowed into the ports of Newark, Philadelphia, Houston, and Wilmington, Del., which have cold-treatment facilities.  

APHIS notes that existing conditions for South African citrus imports will remain unchanged. These include surveillance and monitoring at South African production sites for quarantine pests, inspection in South Africa of shipments intended for export to the U.S., issuance of a phytosanitary certificate by the national plant protection organization of South Africa or APHIS preclearance inspection in South Africa, and inspection at all U.S. ports of entry. In addition, this change is not expected to significantly increase the volume of citrus imports from South Africa.

Cheese from UK

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has determined that, for the 2021 quota year, the United Kingdom may designate importers to receive import licenses for specified quantities under certain dairy tariff-rate quotas allocated to the EU-27.

USDA regulations provide that certain dairy articles subject to TRQs may only be entered at the in-quota tariff rates by or for the account of a person or firm to whom an import license has been issued. USDA publishes annually the amounts of each dairy TRQ for which the government of the applicable country may designate the importers that are to be issued licenses.

Despite its impending withdrawal from the EU, the UK continues to be eligible to export under U.S. dairy TRQs allocated to the EU-27. However, as a result of that withdrawal the European Commission no longer has the authority to designate importers on behalf of UK exporters for trade transactions that will occur after Dec. 31, 2020. To maintain the status quo, USDA has determined that the UK government may designate importers for licenses for the quantities of cheese that have historically been supplied by UK exporters under designated licenses.

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