Importing Tea into U.S.


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Importing Tea into U.S.

Postby Justing » Jan 5th, '13, 13:16

Question about importing teas and "Prior Notice" with FDA. From what I've read for both personal and commercials purposes when importing tea into the U.S. the foreign business is required to file a "Prior Notice" with FDA. I've been told by foreign tea companies that's not needed.

Personal Use
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/335/~/importing-coffee,-tea-or-spices-for-personal-use

Commercial Use
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/337/~/importing-tea,-coffee-and-spices-for-commercial-purposes

I am interested in importing teas to resale in the U.S. Can someone explain what is needed with Prior Notice? Can I fill it out for the Foreign Business?

Thanks in advance! :)
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Re: Importing Tea into U.S.

Postby Chip » Jan 5th, '13, 13:28

Welcome to TeaChat. I activated your links for you.

For personal purpose, you do not need to do anything, but the foreign seller must have the proper documents on the package. I have had 1-2 packages held by customs, but never had them open one. The customs form will usually read something about "small packets."

Oddly, I had FE xray a package of pu-erh coming from GB that they said (without opening)had an "odd smell." :mrgreen: So, you have the government and the shipper to watch out for.

For resale, that is a whole other ballgame. I am interested in reading what is what with this as well.
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Re: Importing Tea into U.S.

Postby nada » Jan 7th, '13, 02:42

When shipping tea to the US via Fedex I'm required to fill in a prior notice online and write the reference number on the package. This rule doesn't seem to be universally enforced, as it's doesn't seem to be required when shipping via regular mail, but Fedex packages don't go through unless they have this number.

I believe you can fill it out on behalf of the sending company and just give them the reference number to write on the package.

You can create an account and fill out the prior notices here:
https://www.access.fda.gov/
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Re: Importing Tea into U.S.

Postby ethan » Jan 7th, '13, 19:27

As others have implied, you might truly learn the meaning of "arbitrary" & "luck".
Where your package lands & what your shipper does, may lead to different results.
W/o going into details, I'd advise never using TNT nor any company whose packages go through customs in Alaska.
Keep us posted.
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Re: Importing Tea into U.S.

Postby Justing » Jan 8th, '13, 15:15

Thanks everyone! Least now I know what to be prepared for LOL

Nada - when you fill out the form. Do you have to list the tea grower or the distributor? Place I am considering ordering wholesale from works with several tea growers in Taiwan.

I did find the answer about if I could file the Prior Notice myself.

Who is authorized to submit prior notice?
A prior notice for an article of food may be submitted by any person with knowledge of the required information. This person is the submitter. The submitter also may use another person to transmit the required information on his/her behalf. The person who transmits the information is the transmitter. The submitter and transmitter may be the same person. See Interim Final Rule § 1.278.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodDefense/Bioterrorism/PriorNotice/ucm082154.htm
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