FDA Proposes Label Requirements For Refused Imported Foods

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a proposed rule designed to reduce a practice known as "port shopping" which puts the safety of imported food at risk.

"This system will make it more difficult for food importers to evade import controls after being denied admission into the United States," said Randall Lutter, Ph.D., deputy commissioner for policy. "It will complement our ongoing efforts to monitor food imports."

When FDA refuses to admit a food into the United States, the food must be exported or destroyed. But some persons attempt to bring the refused food back into the United States in the same condition by shipping it to another U.S. port in hopes that the food will be admitted there.


The proposed regulation would require that shipping containers of food barred from entry, and any accompanying documents, be labeled as refused. The label would make it easier for FDA to detect previously-refused food.

The proposed rule implements a provision of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which provided the FDA with new authority to protect the nation's food supply.

Under the proposed rule, all owners or consignees of refused food would be required to affix a label to the shipping container that reads: "UNITED STATES: REFUSED ENTRY" in clear, conspicuous, print. A label would also have to be affixed to all documents accompanying the imported food such as invoices, bills of lading, and electronic documents.

The FDA will accept comment on the proposed regulation for 75 days following its publication in the Federal Register.