1. How will stakeholders receive information and updates on USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requirements for food and agricultural products sold in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Passenger Preclearance locations or served on U.S.-bound aircraft departing from those locations?
APHIS will send information and updates through its Stakeholder Registry. To subscribe, please go to: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/subscriber/new. Enter your email address and select the Plant Health News and Information topic.
2. Will the new policy change how airline catering is handled today in CBP Preclearance locations?
Yes, there will be changes to the way all airline catering in preclearance locations is handled today. For example, meat and meat products will have to be sourced from authorized countries, and authorized agricultural products will have to be segregated from unauthorized products. CBP will inspect catering kitchens and retail food service providers located in preclearance areas. All CBP Preclearance locations, except those located in Canada, will be required to comply with the policy and the specific regulatory requirements identified for each location. Canada is exempt from some regulatory requirements because the country is currently free of animal diseases of concern. In addition, the United States does not regulate Canadian-origin garbage.
3. How much time do retail and airline catering services have to comply with the new policy?
Retail food and airline catering services operating in or serving established CBP Preclearance locations will have until April 1, 2018, to make the changes needed to comply with the new policy.
If individual retail and airline catering services require additional time to comply with the updated policy for whole fruits and vegetables, APHIS will allow the current use of whole fruits and vegetables not listed in APHIS’ Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) database as acceptable sources until November 1, 2018 at existing preclearance locations. After November 1, 2018, all passenger preclearance locations with be required to comply with all APHIS requirements.
New passenger preclearance locations are required to comply with the policy before they open.
4. Does the entire airport or terminal where passenger preclearance services are provided have to comply with the new policy?
Retail food services that will provide food to passengers in sterile preclearance areas, including catering services that will provide food on board aircraft transporting precleared passengers, are required to comply with this policy. This policy does not apply to retail food or airline catering services that serve customers in other parts of the terminal or airport or that serve flights going to other countries.
5. How often will APHIS update the list of restricted foods and how will changes be communicated to the affected entities?
The List of Restricted Foodstuffs is not expected to change often. Restricted foodstuffs consist primarily of meat products derived from swine and ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer, etc.) and fresh plant materials used as food or decoration. When APHIS makes a change to the List of Restricted Foodstuffs, the retail food provider or airline catering service will have 6 months to make changes to its menu.
The List of Source Countries may change when a country experiences an animal disease outbreak that changes its disease status according to APHIS. APHIS will determine if a change in a country’s disease status requires a change to the List of Restricted Foodstuffs or the List of Foodstuffs Onboard Aircraft Exempted from Removal as Regulated Garbage.
APHIS will post information on its Web site and announce changes via the APHIS Stakeholder Registry. To subscribe, please go to: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/subscriber/new. Enter your email address and select the Plant Health News and Information topic.
APHIS will determine if swine and ruminant products may be sourced locally from the countries in which CBP Preclearance facilities are located. In addition, service providers may request that APHIS review and approve other countries as meat sources. Each determination will be based on the country’s animal disease status, current requirements for meat products imported into the United States from that country, and current passenger baggage inspection policies. Thoroughly cooked poultry products are allowed from all countries.
1. How will food service providers and airline caterers request APHIS authorization to use non-U.S. origin meat? What kinds of supporting documents will they need to provide?
Requestors will send their requests to use non-U.S. origin meat directly to APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov. Use the subject line in the email: Passenger Preclearance: Meat and Meat Products. Requesters may also send their requests through the local CBP office who will forward them to APHIS. Requestors should be prepared to provide the name of the proposed source country and the species and type of meat to be sourced, e.g., beef steaks and pork kidney pies from England.
A country’s animal disease status may be found on APHIS’ Country Disease Status web page and on APHIS’ Animal Product Manual web page (in Appendix C). Note: APHIS-designated country disease status is not always the same as the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) country disease status per international agreement.
2. Will APHIS authorize an entire country or specific suppliers within the country?
APHIS may authorize entire countries or specific regions within a country to supply meat and meat products for preclearance locations. Service providers may use any supplier within an authorized region or the entire country, if it’s authorized as a whole.
3. Will meat suppliers also need to be approved by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)?
In general, meat suppliers will not need to be approved by FSIS to supply meat and meat products to retail food and airline catering services operating in or serving preclearance locations. If a country’s animal health status (as recognized by APHIS) indicates that it is free of specific animal diseases or pests, the caterer or food service provider may source menu items from any establishment. Please see APHIS’ Animal Health Status of Regions Web page.
There are exemptions in place that allow specific meat products into the United States from countries where certain animal diseases are known to exist. Exempted products must be sourced from establishments that have been approved by FSIS and APHIS to export to the United States. Exempted products must also meet all current import requirements and be accompanied by the necessary meat certifications.
While approved facilities have been evaluated by APHIS to confirm their ability to mitigate animal disease risks, they may not provide all of the products a retailer or caterer might need.
Service providers may email questions directly to APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov . Use the subject line in the email: Passenger Preclearance – Meat and Meat Products.
4. Can foreign suppliers of meat and meat products be approved by APHIS?
APHIS is not able to approve individual suppliers to provide foreign meat and meat products for use in CBP Preclearance locations.
5. How can caterers and retail food providers find potential sources of APHIS- approved fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs for use on flights transporting precleared passengers?
All cut fresh fruits and vegetables are allowed on precleared flights, including chopped fresh herbs.
Caterers and retail food providers who wish to use whole (uncut) fruits, vegetables and herbs should refer to APHIS’ Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) database to find sources for whole fruits and vegetables.
6. How do I know if a commodity is eligible to be used as a whole or uncut fruit or vegetable onboard precleared flights or in retail outlets in sterile areas?
Fruits and vegetables in the FAVIR database that contain only four (4) import requirements as part of the Commodity Import Report (CIR) database can be used by caterers and retail providers as whole or uncut.
The four import requirements are:
If there are more than four (4) import requirements or are different from above, the commodity is not eligible to be used as a whole or uncut fruit or vegetable onboard precleared flights.
Contact APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov for further specific guidance. Use the subject line in the email: Passenger Preclearance – Questions about
Fruits and Vegetables.
1. Who should a service provider contact if they need to change menu items and have questions or must seek approval for new items? How long, on average, will it take to get a response?
Service providers may email questions directly to APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov . Use the subject line in the email: Passenger Preclearance – Menu Planning. Service providers may also submit questions to APHIS through the local CBP office. On average, APHIS will respond to non-complex issues within 2 to 7 business days of receiving the question. Responses to complex issues may take longer.
2. Will APHIS consider suggestions from stakeholders about how to reduce the likelihood of passengers removing food from aircraft?
Yes, APHIS encourages stakeholders to submit suggestions for reducing the likelihood of passengers removing food from the aircraft. Please send suggestions directly to APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov or through the local CBP office. Please use the subject line in the email: Passenger Preclearance-Passenger Information.
CBP is responsible for ensuring compliance with APHIS requirements at all Preclearance locations.
1. Will there be a CBP Agricultural Specialist stationed in each preclearance location to monitor compliance?
Yes, CBP Agriculture Specialists (CBPAS) will be stationed at each preclearance location to carry out all agriculture-related inspection activities, including monitoring for compliance with this policy.
2. Will the CBPAS be assigned to an airport or to a specific catering facility?
CBPAS will be assigned to the airport.
3. Who will inspect caterers to verify that they are segregating foods as required?
CBPAS will inspect retail food providers and catering services who sell or serve food to precleared passengers in the Preclearance areas of the airport or on board precleared flights.
4. Where will the requirements be enforced?
Requirements will be enforced in the preclearance location in the foreign airport.
5. Would it be possible for CBP to make passengers sign a declaration form stating that any food received on board an aircraft will remain on board?
CBP is not able to implement or evaluate the effectiveness of such a declaration.