In addition to staying compliant with US Customs, animal food is also regulated by two other government agencies upon importation:
Assuming the animal food product is made out of meat (beef, lamb, pork, poultry), the importer will need to apply with the USDA for VS import permit (VS16-3). The importer can apply online using the e-permit application process or by emailing the completed application to USDA. Please note that there is an application fee (currently $150).
Please also note that once USDA issues a VS permit, the permit will have detailed instructions regarding additional documents that the importer will need to provide with EACH shipment that sent to the United States. The additional document(s) usually is a veterinary certificate and/or a health certificate from the country where the meat products originate from. You need to be very careful that these certificates follow the VS Permit instructions carefully. The VS Permit will have specific language that must be on the veterinary and / or health certificates. We have seen many instances in the past where the certificates did not follow the VS permit instructions correctly. The product ended up either being refused by or delayed by USDA. This resulted in significant additional fees.
BOTH the factory AND the importer need to register with FDA to get a Food Facility Registration number. This is a simple process that can be completed online and takes about 15-30 minutes. There is no fee for this registration. Here is the website for the registration: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/ucm2006831.htm
Ingredient regulation as well as Label regulation: You need to make sure your ingredients comply with FDA limitations and standards. You also need to make sure the labeling of the product complies with FDA regulations. Please see the following FDA website for detailed information: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/Products/AnimalFoodFeeds/ucm050223.htm
Contact us if you have additional questions.