How to Handle Organic Shipments Returned to the U.S. - Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc.

How to Handle Organic Shipments Returned to the U.S.

Handling organic shipments that are returned to the U.S. can be a complex process, especially when the foreign exporter lacks an organic certificate for the product. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help customs brokers navigate this scenario effectively.

The Challenge

Consider this common situation: bags of organic oats are shipped from the U.S. to Canada. During transit, the package is damaged and subsequently rejected by the Canadian entity. When these oats are returned to the U.S., they come back without a National Organic Program (NOP) organic certificate. The question then arises: Can the shipment be imported as organic?

The Solution

The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) has introduced a special code to address this issue. Here’s what you need to know:

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Sealed/Unopened Bags Only: For the returned shipment to retain its organic status, the bags must be sealed and unopened upon return.
  2. Special Filing Code: If the above condition is met, you can use the code 333-550-R for filing in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) under the category OR2 for Certified Organic Goods Returned.

Appreciating AMS’s Flexibility

The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Regulatory Agencies Committee (RAC) acknowledges the USDA AMS for their adaptability in addressing real-world challenges related to the NOP electronic Organic Certificate requirements for organic imports.

Need Assistance?

If you encounter any difficulties or have questions that remain unanswered, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact the RAC at [email protected] for support.

By following these guidelines, customs brokers can ensure that returned organic shipments are processed smoothly and in compliance with USDA standards.