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Revised Compliance Policy Changes Requirements for Personal Shipments

The FDA/CBP (revised) Compliance Policy Guide explains that the two agencies will exercise enforcement discretion on BTA issues until such time as the FDA publishes a final BTA rule for food imported or offered for import for non-commercial purposes.

"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).

The complete Compliance Guide can be downloaded from the Food and Drug Administration site.

Last modified: 
April 17, 2014