What is a USDA Permit?


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires a USDA-issued permit to import products containing plant or animal ingredients that may pose a threat of spreading diseases.  USDA issues and uses permits to verify the safety of imported products at the port of entry. USDA permit requirements differ depending on the origin of the plant or animal, the finished commodity containing the plant or animal ingredient, and the treatment or processing of the specific imported product containing the plant or animal ingredient. Any importer looking to bring a USDA-regulated product to the United States will need to determine if a USDA permit will be required.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) issues Veterinary Service Permits (“VS Permits”) for animal-origin products, and Plant Protection and Quarantine Permits (“PPQ Permits”) for plant-origin products. Expert scientists and licensed veterinarians issue the permits, which outline the controls necessary to import the product. The controls can include special processing or treatments and, usually, a health certificate from a specialist employed by the government of the exporting country.

Failure to obtain and present the correct documents showing compliance with U.S. law will lead to a Customs Agricultural Inspection Hold by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”).  The imported article will fail a USDA inspection at the U.S. port of entry. This usually leads to a refusal of the shipment and, in some cases, to a seizure and mandatory destruction of the product unless remedial measures are taken quickly to save the shipment.

Successfully navigating USDA’s permitting process requires an integrated knowledge of USDA, U.S. Customs, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and policies, as well as expert management of an international supply chain. Failure to manage any of these elements can lead to delays, lost sales, lost product and ultimately, lost business. The team at USDAPermits.com can help you successfully obtain any USDA permit to prevent these problems and to successfully import your product containing animal or plant ingredients.

Types of USDA Permits