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Importing Foods
December 12, 2007 4:28 PM   Subscribe

What is the official procedure (in New York, say) for selling or distributing a canned product imported from another country? Are there specific licenses that need to be obtained?

I suppose, more specifically, what is legal as far as what a grocery store or a market can sell? Let's say i was to buy some products and bring them to the U.S. Could I go to a neighborhood organic market and offer to sell it to them?
posted by dminor to Law & Government (3 answers total)
 
FDA Import Program is what you will need to read. Specifically: "Foreign firms must register and file processing information before shipping any low-acid canned food or acidified low-acid canned food to the United States."

I'm not sure if New York has any rules beyond the FDA.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:29 PM on December 12, 2007


There are also a bunch of FDA labeling requirements: ingredients list, nutritional value, package weight, source country, name of production company, probably some other things. They must be in English.

If those things are not on the product label in English then a sticker must be attached.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:44 PM on December 12, 2007


To cover your own ass, you'd want to make sure you can provide proof that the product you're selling has been imported legally, which means it has been approved by US Customs, FDA, and/or any other government agencies which may have to give the OK for that particular commodity to enter the US for consumption (import duties paid, product inspected, packaging and labeling up to standards, etc.). Finding merchants willing to buy and stock imported foodstuffs from "some guy" might be difficult, even with legally imported and properly documented products, because it's their ass on the line if the feds pay a visit and start asking about the product on their shelves. I've heard that there are plenty of small markets willing to take that risk, though.

And of course the IRS would also want to get a piece of the action, whether you're selling imported pickled alpaca tails or second-hand books.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:02 PM on December 12, 2007


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