Annex B: Samples for Laboratory Examination, Research, Evaluative Testing, or Trade Show Exhibition

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The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) authorizes requests for the importation of samples of meat and/or poultry products destined for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing or trade show exhibition. Provided there are no animal health restrictions imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), meat, poultry, and egg products samples can originate from any foreign country. Importers wanting to import samples originating in countries with animal health restrictions shall apply to APHIS for a permit prior to importing.

Meat and poultry sample shipments, other than frozen cooked beef from APHIS restricted countries, are not required to be inspected (verified) by FSIS upon arrival in the United States and may be shipped directly to the consignee without further restriction. FSIS may follow up with the applicant to verify that the sample is properly handled, including destruction as indicated on the form.

Samples of frozen cooked beef from countries where foot and mouth disease (FMD) or Rinderpest (RP) is found to exist must be presented for reinspection at an FSIS approved import establishment before proceeding for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition. Importers/exporters should contact the appropriate Regional Import Field Office (RIFO) for information on import facility locations.

Samples for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition are not to be sold, distributed or consumed by the public. Samples destined for consumer test marketing or sales promotions, regardless of the volume, are treated as commercial shipments. All commercial shipments shall originate only from eligible countries and must be accompanied by all applicable documentation.

(i) Notification of intent to import samples

The importer, broker or applicant shall notify FSIS prior to importing red meat or poultry samples. The documentation shall be submitted to the appropriate FSIS RIFO in advance of the shipment's arrival into the United States.

(ii) Required documentation

A The FSIS Form 9540-5, "Notification of Intent for Importation of Read Meat, Poultry or Egg Product Samples for Laboratory Examination, Research, Evaluative Testing, or Trade Show Exhibition."

B Samples of meat and poultry products intended for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition are to be certified using an appropriate Annex, as listed in section 11.7.3.4.

FSIS requires that the importer of record or applicant must notify the FSIS using FSIS Form 9540-5 PDF (257 kb) and the sample shipping cartons and individual packages inside the shipping containers include the following:

  1. Product name;
  2. Country of origin;
  3. Establishment number assigned by the foreign country's meat or poultry inspection system (if applicable);
  4. Name and address of the facility that produced the product; and
  5. The statement: "Samples intended for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing or trade show exhibition." 

(iii) Limits and conditions

  • A Weight restrictions
    • Red meat shipments cannot exceed 50 lb (22.7 kg) for each species of product.
    • Poultry shipments cannot exceed 50 lb (22.7 kg) for each species of product.
  • B Requests for sample shipments for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing or trade show exhibition exceeding the limits specified in A must be submitted in writing to the Office of International Affairs, Import Inspection Division, Washington, D.C.
  • C It is the responsibility of the applicant to limit the use of the samples to laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition only. Upon completion of the testing or exhibition, the residual product from the sample shipment shall be properly disposed of as indicated on FSIS Form 9540-5. FSIS may follow up to confirm that the samples were disposed of properly. Proper disposition (e.g. denaturation or incineration) must effectively destroy the contents for human food purposes.

(iv) Labelling

The shipping carton and individual packages (if more than one package) inside the shipping containers shall be pre-printed, stamped, or stencilled (all in English) with the:

  • product name;
  • country of origin;
  • establishment number assigned by the foreign country's meat/poultry inspection system (if applicable);
  • name and address of the facility that produced the product; and
  • the statement: "Samples intended for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition."

For detailed procedures applicable to samples and to obtain Form 9540-5, the applicant must consult the FSIS Regulations and Policies.

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