About Customs Clearance for Food Imports! It’s Not Easy.

Hello, it’s IINO.
I would like to broadcast IINO san’s Logistics Radio.

Today, I would like to talk about customs clearance for food imports.

Our company in Thailand receives a lot of inquiries from Japanese companies regarding the handling of food products.

Currently, we are not accepting any new requests for FDA registration, but I would like to tell you that it is not so easy to handle food products.

Daily Logistics Radio by IINO san in 11th Oct. 2021

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Why is Food Import Customs Clearance So Strict?

You cannot import something that is to be put in people’s mouths without a permit. This is because there is a possibility of food poisoning or even death in the worst case scenario.

This is why each country’s customs office is responsible for keeping any potentially dangerous foods at bay.

Example of Frozen Mango Import

For example, our company is currently undertaking the transportation of frozen mangoes from Thailand to Japan.

At the import customs clearance in Japan, there is not only phytosanitary certificate, but also an order inspection for E. coli every time.

If E. coli bacteria above the standard level is detected in this inspection, the entire quantity is discarded in Japan or the product will have to be shipped back to Thailand.

Example of Meat and Dry Curry Import

Importing meat is also not an easy task. One of the most common inquiries from Japan to Thailand is the import of dry curry.

Since meat is almost used in curry, you are required to provide documentation for the Livestock Infection Prevention Law and Food Sanitation Law.

Need to Apply for Plates and Cups

Others seem to view the importation of plates and cups as a simple matter. Plates and cups are not for people to eat, but they put people’s mouths on.

For this reason, you are required to submit ingredient lists, test charts and manufacturing process charts. If a plate or cup contains arsenic or dioxin, it will be a big problem.

Registration and application for permission are required not only for food products but also for items that indirectly enter or reach the human mouth.

Independent Business Owners Beware

I also think that independent business owners and personal importers need to be a little more literate as for food imports.

Personal imports of food and other items are basically for your own use.

For this reason, there is no need to submit documents such as ingredient lists and test charts under the condition that the quantity is limited at your own risk.

Of course, importing it for the purpose of resale is not allowed.

In case of commercial transactions between small businesses, there are cases where the exporters refuse to submit the necessary documents. So, trading companies who order in large quantities take advantage of the economies of scale, and a scheme for legal importation is established.

You Need to Be Serious about Selling Food

This is about an inquiry about importing Japanese food products to Thailand, the seriousness of the seller is very important.

In fact, there is demand for Japanese food products in Thailand, but there are also many rivals.

In such a situation, some Japanese companies try to sell their products for the time being, but if they are not serious, they will not be able to sell their products with a high probability.

Even if it is a test sale, FDA registration is required. If you are trying to sell the product with inventory for the first time, you still need to register with the FDA.

In addition, it is a very important factor for custom agents whether or not it will lead to subsequent sales.

FDA registration process takes time, money and effort, and if the business does not lead to continuous sales, the fees tend to be high.

Therefore, in my opinion, if the seller of the food product is not serious, the business itself will not go well.