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U.S. Returned Goods

Animal products and by-products that have been exported out of the United States may be returned under certain conditions and are subject to all United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) import requirements. 

If the product has made entry in a foreign country and has cleared customs (border inspection), please contact USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to learn about APHIS import requirements. Animal products and by-products that have made entry in a foreign country and have cleared customs (border inspection) are regulated as if the animal products or by-products were of foreign origin. 

Returned U.S. meat or meat products intended for human consumption must meet APHIS and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requirements when applicable.  Please contact APHIS and FSIS by email or review the content of their website. 

No USDA APHIS veterinary import permit or foreign government health certification will be required for animal products and by-products (other than meat for human consumption) returning to the U.S. (originally exported from the U.S.), if the following requirements can be met: 

1.  The products were rejected at the foreign port of entry, were not allowed entry into the foreign country, and were not delivered to the foreign receiving location. 

2.  The foreign entity or foreign government provides a declaration confirming that the material has not been modified in any manner while outside of the United States. 

3.  The now-importer (original exporter) provides a written explanation detailing the reason for the returned shipment or a written response from the receiving foreign country stating the reason for the product being rejected. 

4.  The now-importer (original exporter) provides a copy of the U.S. export certificate (with lot numbers, if applicable) from U.S. certifying agency. 

5.  The now-importer (original exporter) provides a copy of the exporting invoice (with lot numbers), shipping documents, etc.

6.  All documents must be made available to the inspector at the U.S. port of return entry.

  • The Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Specialist at the U.S port where the returned shipment arrives in the U.S. will conduct a visual inspection of the returned goods to verify that the materials have not been opened and cross-checks the lot numbers of the materials to verify that the goods returning to the U.S. are the same materials that were exported from the U.S.

7.  Please notify Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry prior to the arrival of the U.S. returned goods shipment to arrange for a visual inspection.

  • This may be done directly by obtaining port information from the CBP website or by contacting the broker handling the shipment. 

For additional guidance on returning U.S. animal products and by-products at a specific port, contact the local USDA APHIS Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Veterinary Medical Officer (AQI VMO).

More Information

If the above requirements cannot be met or you have additional questions, please contact USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services by phone at (301) 851-3300 option 1 or by email to learn about USDA APHIS import requirements.

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