Commercial Grain Trade – What documentation is required to import grain of Canadian origin into the U.S?

What documentation is required to import grain of Canadian origin into the U.S?

Primary responsibility for administering the U.S. laws relating to import, export and the collection of duties is given to the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

Information specific to importing agricultural products into the U.S. can be found at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) website:

FAS is the official U.S. Enquiry Point as required under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures for all WTO member inquiries related to SPS regulations. It is also responsible for the Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report that aims to consolidate foreign import procedures for food and agricultural products. FAS provides technical information on allowable pesticide residues, food labeling and standards, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, acceptable food additives, and certification and testing requirements of countries importing U.S. agricultural and food products.

Phytosanitary regulations are established by the importing country. Exporters must determine if the importing country requires certification that the commodity meets that country’s phytosanitary regulations; for example, freedom from a particular prohibited insect.  Phytosanitary import requirements for the U.S. are determined by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  APHIS information on importing grain can be found here: Plant Import Information.  Additional information regarding importing requirements can be found in the Foreign Agriculture Service’s (FAS) Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) reports or by calling the APHIS Customer Service Support office at 301.851.2046 or 877.770.5990. Subject to changes that reflect the ongoing risk assessments of APHIS, currently the U.S. only requires a border inspection and does not require a phyto certificate for:  wheat, barley, oats, lentils, dry beans, and soybeans.  For corn, APHIS requires that the importer have an import permit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for determining whether or not an import to the U.S. is in compliance with or in violation of the acts enforced by FDA.  FDA acts under provisions of the U.S. law contained in the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.  Importers of grain are responsible for ensuring that the products are safe, sanitary, and labeled according to U.S. requirements.  FDA does not approve, certify, license or otherwise sanction individual importers, products, labels or shipments.  We are not aware of any current actions taken by FDA with regard to wheat or barley imported from Canada.  More information on FDA actions can be found at:

Please review questions in section 6): g through k for information on crop protection chemical requirements and related matters addressed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  EPA also coordinates with CBP, USDA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), State and local authorities on actions related to biosecurity.   Biosecurity is the protection of agricultural animals from any type of infectious agent — viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic. We are not aware of any current actions related to biosecurity with regard to wheat or barley imported from Canada.  More information on U.S. biosecurity actions can be found at:

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