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Does the Prior Notice requirement impact personal shipments?

Does the Prior Notice requirement impact personal shipments?

The FDA and CBP have issued a revised Compliance Policy Guide regarding our enforcement of various provisions of the BTA.  The policy guide explains that our two agencies will exercise enforcement discretion on BTA issues until such time as the FDA publishes a final BTA rule for foods imported or offered for import for non-commercial purposes.  It also defines that a "non-commercial purpose" generally exists when the food is purchased or otherwise acquired by an individual for non-business purposes and the shipper is an individual (i.e., the individual delivers the food to a post office or common carrier for delivery to self, family member, or friend for non-business purposes, i.e., not for sale, resale, barter, business use, or commercial use).

Examples of foods imported or offered for import that may be covered by this non-commercial category are:

  • Food in household goods, including military, civilian, governmental agency, and diplomatic transfers;
  • Food purchased by a traveler and mailed or shipped to the traveler's U.S. address by the traveler;
  • Gifts purchased at a commercial establishment and shipped by the purchaser, not the commercial establishment,
  • Food contained in diplomatic pouches.

The revised guidance also clarifies that an individual is a sole human being, not a corporation. The guide also expands upon the difference under the BTA between a shipper (most likely an individual) and a carrier (most likely a commercial entity).  This revised guidance applies to non-commercial shipments with non-commercial shippers, irrespective of the carrier, which could be a foreign mail service, a courier, or a common carrier.