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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 November 01, 2018, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires retail facilities and airline catering services operating in or serving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) passenger preclearance locations to comply with the updated food and regulated garbage requirements described below. These requirements are necessary to prevent the spread of potentially harmful plant pests and animal diseases from reaching our borders.

CBP Agriculture Specialists at passenger preclearance locations will inspect and monitor retail facilities in sterile areas and airline catering kitchens that service flights carrying precleared passengers to ensure compliance with this policy. 

For an overview of CBP passenger preclearance operations, locations, and contacts, please visit CBP.gov. Hover over the “Border Security” tab at the top of the page and then click on “Preclearance” under the “At Ports of Entry” header.

Written Plans for Segregating and Maintaining Foodstuffs Onsite

Each airline catering kitchen or retail facility located in sterile areas must provide written plans to CBP detailing procedures for:

  • Segregating approved foods from prohibited foods,
  • Ensuring only approved foods are placed on aircraft with precleared passengers, and 
  • Ensuring only approved foods and agricultural products are available in preclearance sterile areas during preclearance operations.

Contact the CBP office at the Passenger Preclearance location for additional information.

List of Approved Foods that May Be Served without Restriction

Processed Foods

  • Cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs
  • All meat and poultry products, dairy products, and other agricultural products sourced from the United States
  • Processed and solid cheeses (hard or soft) that do not contain meat 
  • Cheeses in brine that do not contain meat
  • Cooked, shelf-stable meat and poultry products if they were subject to high temperatures after being sealed in the container and will be provided to passengers in the original container
  • Other foods approved to remain on the aircraft upon arrival in the United States

List of Approved Foods with Restrictions

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Prepared meals served on the aircraft may contain garnishes consisting of whole berries, grapes, and small cherry tomatoes.
  • All other fruits and vegetables served on the aircraft must be cut.
  • Whole berries, grapes or cherry tomatoes may NOT be sold in the sterile areas. Only cut fruits and vegetables may be sold in the sterile areas.

Meat and Meat Products of Non-U.S. Origin

To find an authorized source for non-U.S. origin meat and meat products:

  1. Refer to the Veterinary Services Animal Health Status of Regions website.
  2. Click on the tabs for Classical Swine Fever (for swine), Swine Vesicular Disease (for swine), and Foot and Mouth Disease (for swine and ruminants including cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) depending on the type of meat needed.
  3. You may source meat/meat products from any facility located in a country that is listed as free of disease.
  4. If the country from which you want to source meat/meat products is NOT listed as free of disease, you must source the meat/meat product form an eligible foreign establishment in that country. Please visit USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for information about eligible countries and products and a list of eligible foreign establishments.

Food service providers and airline caterers may change their menus at any time when using commodities from the approved foods or approved foods with restrictions lists.

Other Agricultural Plant Products

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.

Regulated Garbage

All garbage generated on board flights with precleared passengers, except flights arriving from Canada, is regulated upon arrival in the United States. See the APHIS Regulated Garbage website for details.

Questions?

Email questions regarding passenger preclearance agriculture policy requirements to APHIS at QPAS-AQI@aphis.usda.gov. Use Passenger Preclearance in the subject line of the e-mail.

For questions about written plans for segregating and maintaining foodstuffs, contact the CBP office at the Preclearance location.

To receive emails about changes or updates to the agriculture requirements for passenger preclearance locations, subscribe to APHIS’ Stakeholder Registry and select the “News and Information” topic under Plant Health Information.

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