21 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 21 - FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER 12 - MEAT INSPECTION
SUBCHAPTER I - INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS; ADULTERATION AND MISBRANDING
Sec. 620 - Imports
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

§620. Imports

(a) Adulteration or misbranding prohibition; compliance with inspection, building construction standards, and other provisions; humane methods of slaughter; treatment as domestic articles subject to this chapter and food, drug, and cosmetic provisions; marking and labeling; personal consumption exemption

No carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat or meat food products of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines which are capable of use as human food, shall be imported into the United States if such articles are adulterated or misbranded and unless they comply with all the inspection, building, construction standards, and all other provisions of this chapter and regulations issued thereunder applicable to such articles in commerce within the United States. No such carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat or meat food products shall be imported into the United States unless the livestock from which they were produced was slaughtered and handled in connection with slaughter in accordance with the Act of August 27, 1958 (72 Stat. 862; 7 U.S.C. 1901–1906). All such imported articles shall, upon entry into the United States, be deemed and treated as domestic articles subject to the other provisions of this chapter and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.]: Provided, That they shall be marked and labeled as required by such regulations for imported articles: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall apply to any individual who purchases meat or meat products outside the United States for his own consumption except that the total amount of such meat or meat products shall not exceed fifty pounds.

(b) Terms and conditions for destruction

The Secretary may prescribe the terms and conditions for the destruction of all such articles which are imported contrary to this section, unless (1) they are exported by the consignee within the time fixed therefor by the Secretary, or (2) in the case of articles which are not in compliance with the chapter solely because of misbranding, such articles are brought into compliance with the chapter under supervision of authorized representatives of the Secretary.

(c) Payment of storage, cartage, and labor charges by owner or consignee; liens

All charges for storage, cartage, and labor with respect to any article which is imported contrary to this section shall be paid by the owner or consignee, and in default of such payment shall constitute a lien against such article and any other article thereafter imported under this chapter by or for such owner or consignee.

(d) Prohibition

The knowing importation of any article contrary to this section is prohibited.

(e) Omitted

(f) Inspection and other standards; applicability, enforcement, etc.; certifications

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat, and meat food products of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines, capable of use as human food, offered for importation into the United States shall be subject to the inspection, sanitary, quality, species verification, and residue standards applied to products produced in the United States. Any such imported meat articles that do not meet such standards shall not be permitted entry in to the United States. The Secretary shall enforce this provision through (1) the imposition of random inspections for such species verification and for residues, and (2) random sampling and testing of internal organs and fat of the carcasses for residues at the point of slaughter by the exporting country in accordance with methods approved by the Secretary. Each foreign country from which such meat articles are offered for importation into the United States shall obtain a certification issued by the Secretary stating that the country maintains a program using reliable analytical methods to ensure compliance with the United States standards for residues in such meat articles. No such meat article shall be permitted entry into the United States from a country for which the Secretary has not issued such certification. The Secretary shall periodically review such certifications and shall revoke any certification if the Secretary determines that the country involved is not maintaining a program that uses reliable analytical methods to ensure compliance with United States standards for residues in such meat articles. The consideration of any application for a certification under this subsection and the review of any such certification, by the Secretary, shall include the inspection of individual establishments to ensure that the inspection program of the foreign country involved is meeting such United States standards.

(g) Administration of animal drugs or antibiotics; terms and conditions; entry order violations

The Secretary may prescribe terms and conditions under which amenable species that have been administered an animal drug or antibiotic banned for use in the United States may be imported for slaughter and human consumption. No person shall enter amenable species into the United States in violation of any order issued under this subsection by the Secretary.

(h) Reciprocal meat inspection requirement

(1) As used in this subsection:

(A) The term “meat articles” means carcasses, meat and meat food products of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines, that are capable of use as human food.

(B) The term “standards” means inspection, building construction, sanitary, quality, species verification, residue, and other standards that are applicable to meat articles.


(2) On request of the Committee on Agriculture or the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives or the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry or the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or at the initiative of the Secretary, the Secretary shall, as soon as practicable, determine whether a particular foreign country applies standards for the importation of meat articles from the United States that are not related to public health concerns about end-product quality that can be substantiated by reliable analytical methods.

(3) If the Secretary determines that a foreign country applies standards described in paragraph (2)—

(A) the Secretary shall consult with the United States Trade Representative; and

(B) within 30 days after the determination of the Secretary under paragraph (2), the Secretary and the United States Trade Representative shall recommend to the President whether action should be taken under paragraph (4).


(4) Within 30 days after receiving a recommendation for action under paragraph (3), the President shall, if and for such time as the President considers appropriate, prohibit imports into the United States of any meat articles produced in such foreign country unless it is determined that the meat articles produced in that country meet the standards applicable to meat articles in commerce within the United States.

(5) The action authorized under paragraph (4) may be used instead of, or in addition to, any other action taken under any other law.

(Mar. 4, 1907, ch. 2907, title I, §20, formerly 18th par., 34 Stat. 1264; renumbered §20 and amended Pub. L. 90–201, §§1, 10, Dec. 15, 1967, 81 Stat. 584, 590; Pub. L. 95–445, §4, Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1069; Pub. L. 97–98, title XI, §1122, Dec. 22, 1981, 95 Stat. 1273; Pub. L. 99–198, title XVII, §1702, Dec. 23, 1985, 99 Stat. 1634; Pub. L. 100–418, title IV, §4604, Aug. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 1408; Pub. L. 103–182, title III, §361(f), Dec. 8, 1993, 107 Stat. 2124; Pub. L. 103–437, §8(2), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4588; Pub. L. 103–465, title IV, §431(l), Dec. 8, 1994, 108 Stat. 4970; Pub. L. 109–97, title VII, §798[(a)](1), Nov. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 2166.)

References in Text

Act of August 27, 1958, referred to in subsec. (a), is Pub. L. 85–765, Aug. 27, 1958, 72 Stat. 862, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 48 (§1901 et seq.) of Title 7, Agriculture. Sections 1903 and 1905 of Title 7, included within reference to Act of August 27, 1958, were repealed by Pub. L. 95–445, §5(b), Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1069, effective as set forth in section 7 of Pub. L. 95–445, set out as an Effective Date of 1978 Amendment note under section 603 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, referred to in subsec. (a), is act June 25, 1938, ch. 675, 52 Stat. 1040, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 9 (§301 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this act to the Code, see section 301 of this title and Tables.

Codification

Subsec. (e) of this section, which required the Secretary to submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a comprehensive and detailed written annual report on the administration of this section, terminated, effective May 15, 2000, pursuant to section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance. See, also, page 46 of House Document No. 103–7.

Section was formerly classified to section 88 of this title.

Amendments

2005—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 109–97 substituted “amenable species” for “cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines” in two places.

1994—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 103–437 substituted “Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry” for “Agriculture and Forestry” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (e)(1)(A), (B). Pub. L. 103–465, §431(l)(1), amended subpars. (A) and (B) generally. Prior to amendment, subpars. (A) and (B) read as follows:

“(A) Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), a certification by the Secretary that foreign plants in Canada and Mexico that export carcasses or meat or meat products referred to in subsection (a) of this section have complied with paragraph (2) or with requirements that are equivalent to United States requirements with regard to all inspection and building construction standards, and all other provisions of this chapter and regulations issued under this chapter.

“(B) Subject to subparagraph (C), the Secretary may treat as equivalent to a United States requirement a requirement described in subparagraph (A) if the exporting country provides the Secretary with scientific evidence or other information, in accordance with risk assessment methodologies agreed to by the Secretary and the exporting country, to demonstrate that the requirement or standard of the exporting country achieves the level of protection that the Secretary considers appropriate.”

Subsec. (e)(2) to (7). Pub. L. 103–465, §431(l)(2), (3), redesignated pars. (3) to (7) as (2) to (6), respectively, and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: “A certification by the Secretary that, except as provided in paragraph (1), foreign plants that export carcasses or meat or meat products referred to in subsection (a) of this section have complied with requirements that are at least equal to all inspection and building construction standards and all other provisions of this chapter and regulations issued under this chapter.”

1993—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 103–182, §361(f)(1), substituted “not be limited to the following:” for “not be limited to—” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (e)(1) to (7). Pub. L. 103–182, §361(f)(2)–(7), added pars. (1) and (2), struck out former par. (1), redesignated pars. (2) to (6) as (3) to (7), respectively, substituted “The” for “the” at beginning of each par., substituted period for semicolon at end of pars. (3) to (5), and substituted period for “; and” at end of par. (6). Prior to amendment, former par. (1) read as follows: “a certification by the Secretary that foreign plants exporting carcasses or meat or meat products referred to in subsection (a) of this section have complied with requirements at least equal to all the inspection, building construction standards, and all other provisions of this chapter and regulations issued thereunder;”.

1988—Subsec. (e)(6). Pub. L. 100–418, §4604(b), added par. (6).

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 100–418, §4604(a), added subsec. (h).

1985—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 99–198, §1702(a), struck out provision which had made this subsection effective six months after Dec. 22, 1981, and inserted provisions requiring that each foreign country from which meat articles are offered for importation into the United States obtain a certification issued by the Secretary stating that the country maintains a program using reliable analytical methods to ensure compliance with the United States standards for residues in such meat articles, that no meat article be permitted entry into the United States from a country for which the Secretary has not issued such certification, that the Secretary periodically review such certifications and revoke any certification if the Secretary determines that the country involved is not maintaining a program that uses reliable analytical methods to ensure compliance with United States standards for residues in such meat articles, and that the consideration of any application for a certification under this subsection and the review of any such certification, by the Secretary, include the inspection of individual establishments to ensure that the inspection program of the foreign country involved is meeting such United States standards.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 99–198, §1702(b), added subsec. (g).

1981—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 97–98 added subsec. (f).

1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–445 prohibited imports which do not comply with humane methods of slaughter.

1967—Pub. L. 90–201, §10, substituted imported articles provisions for penalty provisions deeming offenses as misdemeanors and punishable by fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for two years or both. See section 676(a) of this title.

Effective Date of 2005 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 109–97 effective the day after 120 days after Nov. 10, 2005, see section 798(b) of Pub. L. 109–97, set out as a note under section 601 of this title.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–465 effective, except as otherwise provided, on the date of entry into force of the World Trade Organization Agreement with respect to the United States [Jan. 1, 1995], see section 451 of Pub. L. 103–465, set out as an Effective Date note under section 3601 of Title 19, Customs Duties.

Effective Date of 1981 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 97–98 effective Dec. 22, 1981, see section 1801 of Pub. L. 97–98, set out as an Effective Date note under section 4301 of Title 7, Agriculture.

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–445 effective one year after Oct. 10, 1978, and an additional eighteen-month period thereafter in hardship cases, see section 7 of Pub. L. 95–445, set out as a note under section 603 of this title.

Effective Date of 1967 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 90–201 effective upon expiration of sixty days after Dec. 15, 1967, see section 20(a) of Pub. L. 90–201, set out as an Effective Date note under section 601 of this title.