Food Export Certificate Project
For a state agency-issued export certificate and information on state-issued export certificates:
Directory of State Food Export Certificate Authorities
What is an export certificate?
A paper or electronic document requested by an importing nation
that describes and/or attests to animal health or product safety, production, or
processing methods, packaging, labeling, or specific attributes of a
food/food ingredient intended for international destinations. An export
certificate may also attest to the status of the manufacturing or packaging
establishment producing such food for export.
Why do I need to have an export certificate before I ship my agricultural
Before you can export agricultural products to another country, you must
complete foreign country certificate requirements, as well as certificate
various U.S. federal and state agencies.
The Food Export Certificate Project helps direct exporters to information
about mandatory federal
and state export certificates. It also provides general information about the
types of certificates and attestations (proofs of authenticity) required for
foods exported from the United States to other countries.
Almost four million export certificates are issued by the
U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies, state authorities, and the processed
food industry each year.
There are nine
agencies, including five USDA agencies, that issue export certificates for foreign imported foods.
Of the 800,000 issued by state and federal agencies,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues 88 percent through
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the
Food Safety and
Inspection Service (FSIS), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS),
Federal Grain Inspection
Service/Grain Inspection, Packers and
Stockyards Administration (FGIS/GIPSA), and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Are these new requirements?
No, but it has been difficult for agricultural exporters to locate
information about export certificates in the past. The lack of clarity regarding some foreign country certificate requirements,
as well as procedures to obtain the necessary certificates from various U.S.
federal and state agencies has frustrated U.S. exporters. Adding to the
confusion is the overlapping responsibilities between federal and state agencies
and the lack of a single source for information on the requirements and
procedures to identify and obtain foreign country export certificates. This
information on the FAS Web site is the first stage of a project jointly initiated by USDA and FDA to
identify foreign country requirements for export certificates and link them to
the proper issuing agencies at the state and federal level.
How do I find state-issued export certificates?
The Export Certificates Working Group of the Association of Food and Drug
Officials has worked with U.S. states to develop a single food
export certificate, based on recommendations
Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification
Can I find more information about export certificate requirements?
USDA'S Global Agriculture
Information Network (GAIN) reporting system's
Export Certificate Report provides information on foreign countries'
export certificate requirements.
Who can I contact for more information?
For more information, contact:
International Trade Specialist
Processed Products and Technical Regulations Division
Office of Scientific and Technical Affairs
Foreign Agricultural Service
1400 Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
International Policy Analyst
International Affairs Staff
FDA's Center for Food Safety and
5100 Paint Branch Parkway (HFS-550)
College Park, MD 20740 USA