Obstacle to shipping food to USA, and how to overcome it

Cover Image for Obstacle to shipping food to USA, and how to overcome it

Many of us here in the JustShip community love to ship food to our loved ones. Some popular gifts of choice are Irvin’s salted egg yolk chips, Indomie, or perhaps bottled chilli paste. It may be discouraging to hear that there has been a slow but steady increase of requests by US Customs for shippers globally to file for a FDA Prior Notice when shipping food. However, don’t let that stop you from doting on your loved ones! With some help from this blog post, you’ll be an expert in no time on how to overcome this obstacle if it ever gets thrown your way.

What is a FDA Prior Notice?

FDA is the US’ Food and Drug Administration, their food regulatory agency. As part of their responsibility to protect US’ food supply against terrorist acts, they require shippers to give them a prior notification when food is being shipped. This allows them to target import inspections more effectively.

When you ship food with us to US, we don’t file for a prior notice before shipping. This is because, for the most part, consumers are not required to file for notice if they are merely gifting a small amount of food to their loved ones. That being said, shipping volume has increased to the point where US customs has begun to request for these notices to be filed for some consumer shipments. They also have the right to not release the shipments until the notices have been filed.

What does this mean for us here? Long story short, if you’re shipping food with JustShip to US, just ship it. However, in the off chance that you are required to file for a notice when the parcel reaches US customs, then take a step by step approach by following the guide below, and you’ll be good to go.

How to know you are required to file for a Prior Notice

file prior notice for food notice

This is how an email from FedEx may look. if you receive this, don’t panic! just follow the steps in this guide to move your shipment forward.

Registering an account to file for a Prior Notice

As you can see, Customs wants a Prior Notice Confirmation, so you will have to file for it. They also want the product’s manufacturer name and address. Also note that they tend to have a deadline for it, and it is very important you do not miss this deadline, otherwise you risk the shipment being returned to you at 1.5x the shipping cost. To begin filing for a prior notice, go to this link —> File Prior Notice when shipping food from Singapore to US

FDA online account administration for shipping food internationally

On the page, you should see a “create new account” button on the bottom right corner. Go ahead and click it!

Prior Notice System Interface

Click “no” and click “Prior Notice System Interface”, then click “continue”. You should see 3 sub sections to fill up. Section 2A, 2B, and 2C. For section 2A, note that it is an acceptable option to put N/A for your company and job. for your number and email, you can put your Singapore number and email. For section 2C, you can fill your Singapore address details.

FDA prior notice system interface

After this, you should receive a simple review of the account being created. If all’s good, proceed and you should be able to log in with that account to the US FDA site. Your web page should be similar to the screenshot above. Next, click “Prior Notice System Interface” at the bottom left.

FDA click create new web entry

Click create “new web entry”.

FDA select mail step

Select mail (non-commercial sender) and click next

FDA create web entry

1. For anticipated shipment date, choose the date that FedEx collected your parcel. You should be able to identify that by googling your tracking number, seeing your parcel’s travel history, and scrolling all the way down to see when it was picked up by FedEx. You are likely to be filing for this notice after your anticipated shipment date, but it is okay to back date to the actual shipment date.

2. For number of prior notices, enter the number of food items you are declaring and filing for. For example, if you are shipping kaya and instant noodles, you would file for 2 prior notices – one for kaya, one for instant noodles.

3. Fill up the rest as we filled in the screenshot. then click “enter submitter”.

FDA web entry submitter

You should then see the above screenshot. Fill up accordingly with submitter’s (i.e. you) details as we have. After clicking save, you can then click “enter US recipient” button.

FDA web entry recipient

Enter your US recipient’s details accordingly. If you are the recipient in US and also the one submitting the prior notice, you can check the checkbox on the top left instead.

FDA web entry view

Finally, you should have your details all entered. You are now ready for the next stage, filing your prior notice! Click “create prior notice”.

How to file a Prior Notice

Prior Notice Step 1

Search for your food item name in the “product name”, click search.

prior notice step 2

Click into the product name.

Prior Notice Find Product Complete Product Definition

This really depends on the item you’re shipping, but we find that many items we have shipped before are either NEC or packaged food (not commercially sterile). After finalising details for that item, click select.

Prior Notice Step 4

You should have been directed back to the Prior Notice page, with your product code as seen above. Fill up as per your item’s details, you can refer to our screenshot for our sample of our instant noodles prior notice. Click save when you’re done.

Prior Notice Step 5

At this point, you should fill in the manufacturer’s details. Click “enter manufacturer”.

Prior Notice Step 6

The manufacturer details should be listed on the back of your food item’s packet, along with other information like the ingredients list and caloric amount. A google search of your food item can also help to provide you with these details.

Prior Notice Related Facilities View

Click “Enter Shipper”. If you are both Shipper and Submitter of the Prior Notice, just indicate in the first dropdown that the shipper is of the same facility as the submitter, then save. otherwise, fill up details of shipper accordingly.

Prior Notice Complete Step

YOU ARE FINALLY (ALMOST) DONE. click Save Prior Notice. Select yes to save the Prior Notice.

Prior Notice Complete Web Entry Notice

If you have other items to file Prior Notice for, select ” no”.

File Another Prior Notice If Needed

Then click “create prior notice” again if you have another item you need to file for. When you are finally done with all prior notices, click “complete web entry”.

Well done soldier. Click “print summary” and save it as a pdf, then email it to us at hello@justship.sg and we will take it forward for you! At JustShip, we make international shipping fuss-free for you. If you are looking for a trusted shipping provider to ship from Singapore to worldwide, don’t hesitate to ship now with JustShip.

November 11, 2021
shipping food, shipping from singapore to usa

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