San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently received instructions on amended regulations regarding poultry meat and poultry products. Officials are now urging travelers to be aware of the new requirements, and to always declare food items to CBP officials when entering a port of entry.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued an interim rule adding restrictions to live bird and poultry imports to protect the United States from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Additionally, this ruling also amended existing regulations related to Exotic Newcastle Disease (END). Currently, Mexico is a country recognized by APHIS as being affected by END.
The following changes were made for poultry products from HPAI or END affected regions, such as Mexico, as a result of the amended regulation:
- Processed poultry meat brought into the United States from regions classified by the USDA as affected with END or HPAI must be accompanied by government certification confirming that the meat was cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 74 degrees centigrade. This requirement is for all poultry meat (excluding canned, hermetically sealed, shelf stable meat), poultry meat products, and poultry products.
- Certification of poultry having been cooked at a temperature of at least 74 degrees centigrade does not apply to poultry meat products intended for personal consumption (poultry meat and meat products in passenger baggage or carry-on, personal meals). For movement into the United States, CBP officials must still visually inspect these items to certify that poultry meat and poultry meat products in checked or carry-on passenger baggage or in meals, from END and HPAI affected regions, for personal consumption appear thoroughly cooked throughout. Amounts greater than 50 pounds found in passenger baggage are considered commercial and will require a USDA Veterinary Services certificate as part of the entry packet.
- Eggs and egg products from END and HPAI affected regions, including cooked eggs, if not accompanied by a USDA Veterinary Service import permit remain prohibited regardless if those items are for personal consumption. There is no exception for cooked eggs from the Mexican states of Sonora or Sinaloa.
As a reminder, travelers are strongly encouraged to declare all food items to CBP officials. Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items can result in civil penalties. Penalties for personal importations of undeclared and/or prohibited agricultural items, depending on the severity of the violation, can be as high as $1,000; and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.
Any media questions regarding the change in these requirements can be directed to the National Center for Import Export (NCIE) of the USDA-APHIS-VS at (301) 734-3277.