Shipping food (or other consumable) products across the border from Canada to the U.S.? No worries.
When shipping food products from Canada to the US, you need to comply with the regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who make sure these products are safe for consumers.
There’s a few things you need to do to make sure it’s a smooth (and safe) journey for your parcel:
- Submit a Prior Notice of Imported Foods to the FDA.
- Get the confirmation number back from the FDA (before shipping).
- Include the confirmation number on the customs declaration attached to your parcel.
How to Submit a Prior Notice of Imported Foods
When you’re ready to ship your food products to the U.S., you must submit a Prior Notice of Imported Foods to the FDA.
- The easiest way is to do it directly through the FDA by setting up an account and creating a prior notice for the specific food items you’re sending. They’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to follow, and a help desk if you have specific questions.
- Another way to submit a Prior Notice of Imported Foods is through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which allows prior notice to be submitted to the FDA through the existing ACE interface. If you’d prefer to do that, you can find more info on how to use ACE on the CBP website.
And remember: The Prior Notice must be submitted and confirmed by the FDA before the food is sent and the Prior Notice confirmation number must appear on the Customs Declaration on the parcel.
Make sure what you’re sending is ‘food’ (or other consumables!)
Because you need to submit a Prior Notice of Imported Foods to the FDA before shipping your parcel, you need to make sure what you’re sending is actually classified by them as ‘food’.
However, even if it’s classified as ‘food’ by the FDA, it doesn’t mean it can always be sent with Sendle. It’s a good idea to check out our guidelines on what you can’t send with us (if you need a refresher)!
The FDA defines ‘food’ as:
- Articles used for food or drink for humans or other animals
- Chewing gum
- Any articles used for components of food, drink, chewing gum for humans or other animals
Which pretty much means it can be any of the following:
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy products
- Raw agricultural commodities for use as food or as components of food
- Animal feed (including pet food)
- Food and feed ingredients
- Food and feed additives
- Dietary supplements and dietary ingredients
- Infant formula
- Bakery goods
- Snack foods
- Canned foods
The FDA also regulates:
- Cosmetics (excluding color additives in makeup, skin moisturizers and cleansers, perfume etc)
- Electronic products that give off radiation
- Pet food