10 Tips on How to Export Food Products to the USA

10 Tips on How to Export Food Products to the USA

Over centuries, America has not only emerged as a military superpower, it has also strengthened its economy to the top of the charts and yet again, at a whopping US$22.93 trillion stood at the top in 2021. While this is enough for any other world nation to turn green in envy, surprisingly US’s increased imports over the past few years have widened the gap between trade surplus and deficit, with the nation’s undivided focus on technology and production of computers, automobiles has opened a new, bigger market for global exporting community.

US continues to lead exports of Petroleum & Gold due to strategic and excessive mining, but as far as agricultural production and imports such as Soybean, Wheat and Corn are concerned, their share in the total GDP stands at a mere fraction. While US continues to manufacture and exports cars, vehicle parts and computers, the domestic demand for food products – processed food, beverages, dairy etc. make up for a major share of global exports to the USA.

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For years, food products manufacturers and exporters have identified the opportunity in US market but due to the numerous requirements and certifications, the efforts in this direction seldom come to fruition.

The tide is turning though, the recent regulations imposed by China on food and beverage imports have further shifted the focus on US as a leading export market of food products

In this blog, we will learn about the different requirements that need to be met before readying your consignment to the land of opportunities – USA.

Export License – Granted that those of you living in Indonesia, Australia or Pakistan may not need an export license, it is still a requirement globally to obtain an export import license before commencing any shipment to the USA. Indonesian exporters must obtain a Business Identification Number or Nomor Induk Berusaha (NIB) whereas for certain products, an exporter in Australia must secure a license before initiating any trade with a US Importer. Please check with the government agency of Trade Ministry in your country whether you require an export license of its alternative or not. Similarly, all Indian exporters must obtain the IEC Code from Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) beforehand.

FDA Registration – Not just the manufacturer, but also the companies that pack, process or store foods to be exported to the USA must be registered with Food and Drugs Administration. All facilities outside USA can simply hire a registered FDA agent who could help them acquire the FDA registration. As for your business as exporter, you must get in touch with the agent to communicate on your behalf. An online registration application must be submitted on an online portal called FDA Unified Registration and Listing System. After the registration is complete, an 11-digit registration number is issued on your registered email address. Following this, you receive a Registration certificate from your FDA agent

The 2002 Public Health Security and Bio Terrorism Preparedness and Response Act underlines the requirements that a business needs to focus on. Visit this page for more case studies on lapses that led to the cancellation of the shipments from other countries by USFDA.

Labeling Requirements – One of the leading causes of shipment rejection are non-compliance with labeling regulations laid down by the FDA. Everything from Nutritional Facts chart to font size to country of origin and food allergens, all need to be provided on the label for the authorities to ensure a smoother inspection of your goods.

Food Additives, Ingredients and LACF Foods – It is of paramount importance that you ensure your shipment does not contain any prohibited ingredients marked by the FDA as it could lead to rejection of your shipment and suspension of your FDA registration in the worst case scenario. Additionally, FCE (Food Canning Establishment) registration is needed for certain low-acid canned or acidified foods. All manufacturers/exporters must produce documents that underline the process used on the production of such foods.

For more information on labeling and food ingredients regulated by FDA, click here

FSMA Compliance – The 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act regulates the way exported food products are grown, harvested and processed. All FDA registered food facilities are expected to write and provision food safety plans (HARPC Plans), Food defense plans and ensure the exporters/suppliers are compliant with these regulations. Applied mostly for small businesses with 500 or fewer full-time employees, this Act also applies to US importers and all exporters should co-operate the importers in Foreign Supplier Verification Program or FSVP rules.

Prior Notice Submission on each shipment – Prior notice is required to be submitted ahead of the shipment containing information about the exporter, importer, product and the method of shipment. A bar-coded Prior Notice confirmation number is issued by the FDA that helps in the smoother and hassle-free entrance of food shipment into the United States.

Food Contact Substance Notification – Anything that touches the food item during the entire process from processing to packaging to export may be considered as an indirect food additive and must be specified under Food Contact Substance in the form that can be submitted via FDA’s electronic submission gateway.

Checklist for your importer – As an exporter, you not only need to ensure all the food product export related requirements are met from your end; you also need to verify the readiness of the importer. At the end of the day, an importer’s failure to compliance will leave your products stranded at the port.

Click here to know more about the Importer’s checklist so that the same is verified with the buyer before you progress your shipment to the US.

Avoiding shipment detention – As a new business, you spend considerable amount of time in devising a loss mitigation plan. The same applies to your export endeavors as well. While the entire process of food products exports to US is comprehensive and requires a lot of perseverance on your part, it is always wise to have a damage control plan ready. With the exception of meat and poultry products, all food, beverages and dietary supplements are subject to examination by the FDA and a minor error could leave your shipment detained. In such a scenario, it is always advisable to employ detention assistance. There are many US agencies approved by the FDA that provide such assistance to communicate on your behalf and also implement the recovery or shipment completion plan.

Finding the right importer – While exporting food products may appear a cumbersome task to many first time exporters, the profits are far more rewarding. The first step in this direction is to find, connect and trade with genuine, trustworthy and most importantly, verified buyers. At go4WorldBusiness.com, we verify all the buy leads active on the website. It is through strong communication, cooperation and mutual understanding between exporters and importers that a successful deal is carried out.

We are with you every step of the way and hope that your journey to successful food exports to United States is fruitful and fulfilling.

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