U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Mar 23, 2023
(a)(1) Whenever it shall be determined by the Administrator that the system of meat inspection maintained by any foreign country, with respect to establishments preparing products in such country for export to the United States, insures compliance of such establishments and their products with requirements equivalent to all the inspection, building construction standards, and all other provisions of the Act and the regulations in this subchapter which are applied to official establishments in the United States, and their products, and that reliance can be placed upon certificates required under this part from authorities of such foreign country, notice of that fact will be given in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. Thereafter, products prepared in such establishments which are certified and approved in accordance with paragraph (a)(3) of this section, shall be eligible so far as this subchapter is concerned for importation into the United States from such foreign country after applicable requirements of this subchapter have been met.
(2) The determination of acceptability of a foreign meat inspection system for purposes of this section shall be based on an evaluation of the foreign program in accordance with the following requirements and procedures:
(i) The system shall have a program organized and administered by the national government of the foreign country. The system as implemented must provide standards equivalent to those of the Federal system of meat inspection in the United States with respect to:
(A) Organizational structure and staffing, so as to insure uniform enforcement of the requisite laws and regulations in all establishments throughout the system at which products are prepared for export to the United States;
(B) Ultimate control and supervision by the national government over the official activities of all employees or licensees of the system;
(C) The assignment of competent, qualified inspectors;
(D) Authority and responsibility of national inspection officials to enforce the requisite laws and regulations governing meat inspection and to certify or refuse to certify products intended for export;
(E) Adequate administrative and technical support;
(F) The inspection, sanitation, quality, species verification, and residue standards applied to products produced in the United States.
(G) Other requirements of adequate inspection service as required by the regulations in this subchapter.
(ii) The legal authority for the system and the regulations thereunder shall impose requirements equivalent to those governing the system of meat inspection organized and maintained in the United States with respect to:
(A) Ante-mortem inspection of animals for slaughter and inspection of methods of slaughtering and handling in connection with slaughtering which shall be performed by veterinarians or by other employees or licensees of the system under the direct supervision of the veterinarians;
(B) Post-mortem inspection of carcasses and parts thereof at time of slaughter, performed by veterinarians or other employees or licensees of the system under the direct supervision of veterinarians;
(C) Official controls by the national government over establishment construction, facilities, and equipment;
(D) Direct and continuous official supervision of slaughtering and preparation of product, by the assignment of inspectors to establishments certified under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, to assure that adulterated or misbranded product is not prepared for export to the United States;
(E) Complete separation of establishments certified under subparagraph (3) of this paragraph from establishments not certified and the maintenance of a single standard of inspection and sanitation throughout all certified establishments;
(F) Requirements for sanitation at certified establishments and for sanitary handling of product;
(G) Official controls over condemned material until destroyed or removed and thereafter excluded from the establishment;
(H) A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, as set forth in part 417 of this chapter.
(I) Other matters for which requirements are contained in the Act or regulations in this subchapter.
(iii) Countries desiring to establish eligibility for importation of product into the United States may request a determination of eligibility by presenting copies of the laws and regulations on which the foreign meat inspection system is based and such other information as the Administrator may require with respect to matters enumerated in paragraphs (a)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section. Determination of eligibility is based on a study of the documents and other information presented and an initial review of the system in operation by a representative of the Department using the criteria listed in paragraphs (a)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section. Maintenance of eligibility of a country for importation of products into the United States depends on the results of periodic reviews of the foreign meat inspection system in operation by a representative of the Department, and the timely submission of such documents and other information related to the conduct of the foreign inspection system, including information required by paragraph (e) of section 20 of the Act, as the Administrator may find pertinent to and necessary for the determinations required by this section of the regulations.
(iv) The foreign inspection system must maintain a program to assure that the requirements referred to in this section, equivalent to those of the Federal system of meat inspection in the United States, are being met. The program as implemented must provide for the following:
(A) Periodic supervisory visits by a representative of the foreign inspection system to each establishment certified in accordance with paragraph (a)(3) of this section to ensure that requirements referred to in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(A) through (H) of this section are being met: Provided, That such visits are not required with respect to any establishment during a period when the establishment is not operating or is not engaged in producing products for exportation to the United States;
(B) Written reports prepared by the representative of the foreign inspection system who has conducted a supervisory visit, documenting his or her findings with respect to the requirements referred to in (A) through (H) of paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, copies of which shall be made available to the representative of the Department at the time of that representative's review upon request by that representative to a responsible foreign meat inspection official: Provided, That such reports are not required with respect to any establishment during a period when the establishment is not operating or is not engaged in producing products for exportation to the United States; and
(C) Random sampling of internal organs and fat of carcasses at the point of slaughter and the testing of such organs and fat, for such residues having been identified by the exporting country's meat inspection authorities or by this Agency as potential contaminants, in accordance with sampling and analytical techniques approved by the Administrator: Provided, That such testing is required only on samples taken from carcasses from which meat or meat food products intended for importation into the United States are produced.
(3) Only those establishments that are determined and certified to the Agency by a responsible official of the foreign meat inspection system as fully meeting the requirements of paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section are eligible to have their products imported into the United States. Establishment eligibility is subject to review by the Agency (including observations of the establishments by Program representatives at times prearranged with the foreign meat inspection system officials). Foreign establishment certifications must be renewed annually. Notwithstanding certification by a foreign official, the Administrator may terminate the eligibility of any foreign establishment for the importation of its products into the United States if it does not comply with the requirements listed in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, or if current establishment information cannot be obtained. The Administrator will provide reasonable notice to the foreign government of the proposed termination of any foreign establishment, unless a delay in terminating its eligibility could result in the importation of adulterated or misbranded product.
(i) For a new establishment, or any establishment for which information from last year's electronic certification or paper certificate has changed, the certification or certificate must contain: The date; the foreign country; the foreign establishment's name, address, and foreign establishment number; the foreign official's title and signature (for paper certificates only); the type of operations conducted at the establishment (e.g., slaughter, processing, storage, exporting warehouse); and the establishment's eligibility status (e.g., new or relisted (if previously delisted)). Slaughter and processing establishment certifications must address the species and type of products produced at the establishment (e.g., the process category).
(ii) If the establishment information provided on the preceding year's electronic foreign establishment certification or paper certificate, as required in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, has not changed, the certification or certificate must contain: The date, the foreign country, the foreign establishment's name, and the foreign official's title and signature (for paper certificates only).
(4) Meat and meat food products from foreign countries not deemed eligible in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section are not eligible for importation into the United States, except as provided by § 327.16 or § 327.17. Eligibility of any foreign country under this section may be withdrawn whenever the Administrator determines that the system of meat inspection maintained by such foreign country does not assure compliance with requirements equivalent to all the inspection, building construction standards, and other requirements of the Act and the regulations in this subchapter as applied to official establishments in the United States; or that reliance cannot be placed upon certificates required under this part from authorities of such foreign country; or that, for lack of current information concerning the system of meat inspection being maintained by such foreign country, such foreign country should be required to reestablish its eligibility.
(b) A list of countries eligible to export specific process categories of meat and meat food products is maintained at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/importlibrary. Meat and meat food products from listed countries must be accompanied by foreign inspection certificates of the country of origin, as required by § 327.4, and are eligible under the regulations in this subchapter for entry into the United States after inspection and marking as required by the applicable provisions of this part. Fresh, chilled, or frozen or other product from countries in which rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease or African swine fever exist, as provided in part 94 of this title, are ineligible for importation into the United States.