Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Under the prior notice regulation issued, prior notice must be provided for food products entering the United States beginning December 12, 2003

In 2002 Congress passed the Bioterrorism Act as a part of its ongoing effort to combat terrorism, thus reducing the ability for international terrorists to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.S. by contaminating imported foods.

By requiring advance notice for imported food shipments and registering domestic and foreign food facilities, the FDA hopes to identify potentially dangerous foods and better keep our food supply safe and secure. These new requirements represent the latest steps in our ongoing efforts to respond to new threats and improve the safety of all the foods that we eat in this country."

Under the prior notice regulation, prior notice of imported foods must be received and confirmed electronically by FDA no more than five days before its arrival and no fewer than: two hours before arrival by land via road;four hours before arrival by air or by land via rail; oreight hours before arrival by water.

The Bioterrorism Act allows FDA to bring a civil action in federal court to enjoin the persons who fail to comply with this rule. FDA also can seek criminal actions in federal court to prosecute persons who fail to establish and maintain records, as required by the final rule.

FDA has already issued three other final regulations under the Bioterrorism Act, which are in effect. They cover: Registration foreign and domestic food facilities;Prior notice of food shipments imported or offered for import into the U.S.; and Administrative detention, so that food products that might pose a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death may be detained.

USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

On September 16, 2005, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) implemented the first phase of a three phase plan to enforce the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) import regulation for wood packaging material (WPM).

The rule requires WPM, such as pallets, crates, and boxes used in international trade to support or brace cargo, to be treated to prevent the introduction of harmful insects to U.S. agriculture. Either of the approved treatments is accepted:

1. Heat treatment to a minimum wood core temperature of 56 degrees celsius for a minimum of 30 minutes

2. Fumigation of methyl bromide.

To certify treatment, the WPM must be marked with the approved International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo.  Unmarked WPM will be considered untreated and non-compliant.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)

The Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA) requires that anyone wishing to import alcoholic beverages into the United States for the purpose of resale must first obtain an Importer's Basic Permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). In order to obtain a basic permit, they will be required to maintain and staff a business office in the United States. Of course, if they are unable to maintain a U.S. office, they can choose to establish a commercial arrangement with an existing licensed importer within the U.S., thereby negating the need of obtaining a separate importerís permit. An application must be completed for each location before commencing business, permit holders must pay a yearly Special Occupational Tax of $500.

Alcoholic beverages imported into the United States for resale, or other commercial purposes, must conform with the United States labeling regulations. All importers must obtain a Certificate of Label Approval prior to the importation of alcoholic beverages.

Anyone wishing to import alcoholic beverages into the United States should also meet individual State requirements in addition to those for the Federal permit described above and should contact each State for information relative to its licensing requirements.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) establish minimum levels of safety performance for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors the importation of foreign manufactured vehicles and motor vehicle equipment not certified to comply with the FMVSS to ensure that they are brought into compliance.

Because of the substantial number of nonconforming vehicles that were being imported and concerns that more stringent legislation was necessary to ensure these vehicles were brought into compliance with FMVSS.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

A variety of laws and regulations govern import and export requirements of materials which may pose a risk to human health and the environment. EPA works with EPA's regions and program offices, the states, other federal agencies and foreign governments to ensure compliance with laws governing the importation and exportation of many of these materials.

Hazardous Wastes
Chemical Substances
Ozone Depleting Substances

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934.

The FCC regulates television, radio, wire, satellite and cable in all of the 50 states and U.S. territories.

The Bureaus and the Office of Engineering and Technology process applications for licenses and other filings, analyze complaints, conduct investigations, develop and implement regulatory programs and rules, and participate in hearings etc.

Fish and Wildlife Service (F&W)

Both international treaties and domestic laws have been implemented to promote long term global conservation of fish and wildlife resources. The plant or animal that you wish to import, export, or transfer across state boundaries may be protected by more than one treaty, law, or regulation.

Before importing, Please determine whether the species in question is protected domestically by the Endangered Species Act.

Also, please determine whether the species of plant or animal is protected internationally by the CITES treaty.