As you would imagine, there are very strict regulations when it comes to importing food for resale into the United States.
To begin with, importers are required to ensure their products are safe, sanitary, and labeled according to U.S. requirements. As far as the FDA is concerned, you’d have to notify them before shipments are made, and you don’t need sanction from the FDA as long as the facilities that produce, store, or handle the products are registered with FDA, which can help speed up the importation process. However, this doesn’t mean that your products won’t be subject to inspection at the border by the FDA.
If you’re unsure about whether or not your products will be allowed into the country, your best option is getting in touch with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Import specialists can let you know what the requirements are specially for your case. The regulations and restrictions will vary depending on what country you’re exporting from, what products you’re exporting and what fees may apply.
Animal products have different requirements than fruits and vegetable products. As does seafood, and the manufacturer must register with the FDA before anything is admitted into the US. According to the CBP website, “If the product you wish to import is a plant or farm animal product, you should consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The product may be prohibited or restricted from entering the United States. To inquire about the admissibility of meats, livestock, poultry and their products intended for resale, contact USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Meat and Poultry Hotline toll-free at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).”
Here is where you can register with the FDA.
Should I use a Customs Broker?
Though you can do all the paperwork yourself, the CBP does recommend that you get yourself a customs broker. A customs broker will file all the necessary paperwork for you cataloging, and following up on the whole process. You can find a broker through the CBP website in the case where you don’t want to go through the whole filing process on your own.
Our family at CNS Confectionery Products have been importing ingredients from abroad for decades now. If there are certain toppings or ingredients like coconut, granola, or chocolate chips you’d like to distribute in the US, get in touch with us. We already have all the quality bulk ingredients available at a fair and competitive price.