Regulations & Requirements
In addition to helping U.S. exporters navigate an array of regulations governing trade in food and agricultural products, FAS works to ensure that those regulations are predictable, transparent, and science-based.
FAS's international offices publish Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) reports and exporter guides for the countries they cover. Copies of these reports can be found on the individual country pages of the FAS website as well as by searching the Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) database.
Regulatory Changes by WTO Members
The governments of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries notify the WTO about changes in their domestic regulations that could impact international trade in food and agricultural products. Under WTO rules, other WTO member countries have the opportunity to evaluate these regulatory changes to determine whether they might pose sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS) concerns or technical barriers to trade (TBT). FAS maintains an online system to inform the U.S. agricultural industry regarding changes in international food and agriculture regulations that could affect U.S. exports.
Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) Database
FAS provides access to a database that lists maximum acceptable levels of pesticides and veterinary drugs in food and agricultural products in the United States, as well as 70 other countries, the European Union, and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Regulatory Information from Other Agencies
Additional information about regulations and requirements governing agricultural exports and imports is available from other USDA agencies and state departments of agriculture.
- The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates both the import and export of animals and plants.
- The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides guidance on exporting and importing meat and poultry, including packaging, labeling, and other special conditions.
- The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) governs the export of grains, oilseeds, and related commodities.
- Individual state's agriculture departments provide points of contact who issue export certification documents such as Certificates of Free Sale.