Update: Beyond the Border (BtB) Pre-clearance Initiative Pilot Project on Import Re-inspection Activities for Fresh Meat

As part of the Beyond the Border (BtB) Action Plan, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are working jointly to implement a pre-clearance initiative. This initiative consists of a pilot project that will consider alternative methods for reviewing import documents prior to the shipment's arrival at the U.S. border and alternative methods for release of shipments that are destined for further processing at an FSIS official establishment. This pilot will begin at the end of September and run for one year. Throughout the operation of this pilot and afterwards, both agencies are committed to maintaining the same high level of food safety as is currently realized. Furthermore, import controls currently in Canada will not be impacted by this initiative.

In July 2012, FSIS and CFIA posted a fact sheet outlining the pilot project scope, criteria for participating establishments, and providing a general overview of the pilot. This document provides additional detail regarding the process on how imports of fresh product from CFIA-certified establishments will flow to FSIS-inspected establishments for further processing.

The pilot scope will begin with one CFIA-certified pork and one CFIA-certified beef establishment participating. The current import re-inspection process will remain the same as it currently is for all other CFIA-certified establishments that are not participating in the pilot.

Overview of the Pilot Import Process

The official inspection certificate issued by CFIA (CFIA/ACIA 4546) and the FSIS application for import inspection (FSIS Form 9540-1) will be provided to FSIS in advance of the shipment arriving at the border in order to facilitate the preclearance and document review phase of the process.

  • The US Importer of Record or designated agent will file the customs entry with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which will initiate the FSIS Public Health and Information System (PHIS) data entry of the additional information provided on the import application and the CFIA official inspection certificate.

There will be an official CFIA seal applied to the shipments imported under this pilot at time of loading. The seal number will be provided on the official inspection certificate.

FSIS will complete the certification checks and request an inspection assignment for the lot(s) on the inspection certificate.

  • If an assignment is drawn for a product examination, microbiological, or residue sample to be collected, FSIS will notify the Importer of Record that the product must move directly to the import establishment designated on the import application.
  • If no additional types of inspection are assigned, FSIS will notify the Importer of Record that the product is permitted to move directly to the designated FSIS inspected receiving establishment where the product will be processed.
  • The Canadian product cannot be processed until the verification activities are completed at the FSIS-inspected receiving establishment (e.g. product and label verification checks will be performed by FSIS.)

If any shipment fails-to-present at the designated official import inspection establishment, designated US receiving establishment or if product is processed in the US prior to the completion of all import reinspection activities, FSIS will retain the product and pursue appropriate enforcement activities.

The pilot's performance will be measured against the level of food safety that is currently realized. FSIS and CFIA will review the pilot's progress and data on an on-going basis while the pilot is underway and make adjustments, as necessary, to refine the preclearance and reinspection process.

E-mail your comments to

  • FSIS-RCC-BTB@fsis.usda.gov
  • CFIAPROGRAMS-ACIAPROGRAMMES@inspection.gc.ca

General information on this initiative

On February 4, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the U.S.-Canada joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. It articulates a shared vision where both our countries work together to address threats at the earliest point possible, while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods, and services into our countries and across our shared border.

The Beyond the Border Action Plan consists of 32 separate initiatives. It calls for enhancements to programs that help trusted businesses and travelers move efficiently across the border; introduces new measures to facilitate movement and trade across the border while reducing the administrative burden for business; and invests in improvements to our shared border infrastructure and technology. By expediting lawful trade and commerce into and across our shared border, the United States and Canada seek to enhance our economic competitiveness, create jobs and support economic growth.

Additional Information

For information on the Beyond the Border Action Plan from the White House

For information on the Beyond the Border Action Plan initiative from the Department of Homeland Security

For more information on the Beyond the Border Action Plan initiatives under Canada's Economic Action Plan