I want to export cooked, chilled or frozen edible snails to USA. What do I need to know?

Question posted by Helen Howard, on behalf of H&RH Escargots in CT3

I have an online shop which regularly attracts enquiries from potential individual customers in USA. I cannot send live edible snails which is what they want, but I can now supply cooked snails. Parcelforce advice suggests this is quite simple - register with FDA, get a number by email for that consignment and just send the parcel. Is it really that simple? Payment is by Paypal.

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Lauren Dickerson, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.

Hello Helen,

In the US, food products are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). (If they contain meat or poultry, they will also be regulated by the US Department of Agriculture – USDA.) You will need to ensure that your products, packaging, and labelling all comply with FDA regulations, and you will need to ensure your food facilities are registered with FDA for possible inspection.

There are private companies who work in this area. One company that we are aware of is Registrar Corp (www.registrarcorp.com), which provides assistance with US FDA regulations for Food and Drink companies.

Best of luck, please let me know if you have any other questions regarding the US market.


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Defra Users, on behalf of Defra in SW1P.

Dear Helen,

As Lauren mentions, in instances like this the best thing to do is to contact the relevant importing authorities in the country of destination and then work backwards from what they want. Import requirements vary by country.

You might also want to talk to the UK Embassy over there to get their advice on the best way of getting in touch with the US authorities. Try:

Pending their confirmation, since your product is of animal origin they may well require an Export Health Certificate. If this is required, then you would need to contact the UK Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA):

AHVLA Specialist Service Centre
Hadrian House, Wavehill Drive, Carlisle, CA1 2TB
Telephone: 01228 403600
Email: centralops.carlisle@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk

AHVLA works on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. If you’re based in Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) covers this same function:

The Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Ballymiscaw, Belfast BT4 3SB
Telephone: 0300 200 7852
Email: dardhelpline@dardni.gov.uk

Best wishes

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Sarah Carroll, on behalf of Grow Global Limited in BN1.

Helen -

Great to hear that you've been getting orders from the USA online.

UKTI offers a service called the Export Communications Review which can help you to further optimise your website for international trade, making you more visible in search engines in the USA and other countries too. This will help you to generate new sales internationally.

To find out more, take a look at www.growglobal.com under Services or send us a message on ecr@growglobal.com.

Good luck with your international plans!

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HMRC Advisor, on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs in G67.

Information on the Customs requirements for exporting is given in HMRC Public Notice 275. All notices can be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk under Quick Links > Library > Official Statistics – Publications – Notices, Info Sheets & Other Reference Materials > Import, Export & International Trade. The Public Notices are in numerical order.

See also section 5 of Notice 143 - A guide for international post users.
A more comprehensive guide to importing/exporting is available on our website. Click ‘import/export’ in the top right hand corner of the home page.

HM Revenue & Customs
Customs International Trade & Excise

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