Requirements for Food and Other Agricultural Products Served or Sold in Passenger Preclearance Locations

Requirements for Food and Other Agricultural Products Served or Sold in Passenger Preclearance Locations

Effective April 1, 2018, USDA’s Animal and Plant (APHIS) will require retail facilities and airline catering services operating in or serving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) passenger preclearance locations to comply with the requirements described below. These requirements are necessary to prevent the spread of potentially harmful plant pests and animal diseases from foods and agricultural products available to passengers in preclearance areas.

APHIS-Exempted Foods

The following foods may be served without restriction in preclearance sterile areas and on flights with precleared passengers:

  • All foods included on the list “FoodstuffsOnboard Aircraft Exempted from Removal as Regulated Garbage
  • All thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs
  • All processed and solid cheeses (hard or soft) that do not contain meat 
  • All cheeses in brine that do not contain meat
  • All meat and poultry products, dairy products, and other agricultural products sourced from the United States (if verified by CBP and kept separate from other foods in the kitchen area)
  • Cooked, shelf-stable meat and poultry products if they were subject to high temperatures after being placed in the container and will be provided to passengers in the original container (processing verification required for these products)
  • Cut fruit and vegetables
  • Cooked fruits and vegetables

Foods that Require APHIS Approval

APHIS must approve the following foods prior to use in preclearance sterile areas or on flights with precleared passengers:

Plants and Plant Parts

No living plants, plant parts for growing (such as seeds, stems, bulbs, tubers, etc.), cut flowers, cut foliage, or ornamental plant parts (such as fronds, fruit pods, leaves, or seed heads), may be sold in sterile areas or used in airline catering (see 7CFR §319.37, §319.56, and §319.74). 

Regulated Garbage

All garbage onboard flights with precleared passengers is regulated under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (Title 7 §330.400 -330.403 and Title 9 §94.5 and must be handled by approved entities per established requirements and policies upon arrival in the United States. Canada-origin garbage is exempt from this requirement. See the APHIS Regulated Garbage website for details.

Written Plans

  • Each airline catering kitchen must provide a written plan to CBP detailing procedures for:
    • Segregating exempted or approved foods from prohibited foods within the kitchen
    • Ensuring only exempted or approved foods are placed on aircraft with precleared passengers  
  • Retail facilities located in a preclearance sterile area that serve precleared passengers only may only use APHIS-exempted or approved foods
  • Each retail facility located in a preclearance sterile area that also serve non-preclearance areas must provide a written plan to CBP detailing procedures for:
    • Segregating approved or exempted foods and agricultural products within the facility
    • Ensuring only approved or exempted foods and agricultural products are available in preclearance sterile areas during preclearance operations

Enforcement

CBP Agriculture Specialists at each preclearance location will inspect and monitor retail facilities in sterile areas and airline catering kitchens that service flights carrying precleared passengers to ensure compliance.  

Policy Changes

APHIS may change requirements and exemptions for agricultural products used in sterile areas and airline catering when there are disease status changes in the countries where preclearance locations operate or from which meat products are sourced. New requirements and exemptions will take into consideration:

  • Flight service schedules
  • Type of foodstuffs
  • Type of processing

APHIS will notify food service providers and airline catering kitchens when changes are made. Food service providers and airline caterers will have 6 months to make necessary menu changes.

To receive emails about this policy, subscribe to APHIS’ Stakeholder Registry and select the “News and Information” topic under Plant Health Information.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions: USDA APHIS Requirements for Passenger Preclearance Locations

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