Although there are some exceptions to shipments that require prior notice, most shipments and mailings will be held subject to investigation if they are sent to the US without Prior Notice documentation.
Food that is imported or offered for import with inadequate Prior Notice is subject to refusal and holding at the port or in secure storage. The FDA will provide its staff with enforcement guidelines containing the Agency's policies on injunctions, prosecution, seizure, destruction, fines, and penalties related to failure to provide timely and accurate Prior Notice.
The required timeframes for filing the prior notice vary depending on the mode of transport, data must be transmitted before the food arrives at the 1st port of arrival:
- 8 hours for food arriving by water
- 4 hours for food arriving by air or land/rail
- 2 hours for food arriving by land/road
Shipments sent by domestic/international mail must have this documentation applied to the package at the time of shipment.
The merchandise will be refused admission by the FDA. At the CBP Port Director’s discretion in consultation with FDA, and based on availability of storage and resources, the refused merchandise may be:
The terms of the prior notice refusal may allow you to submit a prior notice submission after the shipment has been refused. There is always a risk that the shipment will be exported or destroyed, so it is always best to submit your documentation before shipping. Using FDA.express link is one way to ensure you do not get caught out.