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Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:40 pm
by vespa
Sounds like jobsworths with tiny man syndrome.

We don't really a major problem importing ration in the UK including outside the EU, I got Russian Army rations no problem.

It's not specifically forbidden to import food privately for personal consumption as far as I'm aware, the law is fairly vague on some things and to date never had a problem.

It is a feature of the British legal system that "everything is allowed until it's made illegal"
In America its seems "Nothing is allowed until its made legal"

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:05 pm
by mikeoverhere
housil wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:12 pm
I guess you don´t get my idea.
Oh I get your idea, a way to fool or hide my actions from the government, and if caught get both myself and whomever local I conned into shipping me the ration in legal trouble. Deception and risking others with my own illegal actions is simply not the way I roll. And now, I have a case record and the scrutiny of USDA watching me so for me personally, the risk is now out of the question no matter what. Others may proceed at their own risk, perhaps following your suggestion on how to discreetly ship. Then hope and pray you never get caught like I was.

I wish they would make a distinction between a commercial importer, and a private individual but they blanket EVERYTHING imported in the mail as commercial regardless. That's just not right.

Importation of certain rations and ration components has always been a risk. People are rarely caught like I was. However fate has caused USDA to drop the hammer on me so the risk for me has become too great. Everyone please just keep in mind the risk with the addition now of possible aggressive action from USDA. The USDA trying to go after people, and if monitoring eBay auctions, video reviews, and MRE discussions on public forums may have increased risk so be careful. It may be only a matter of time before they go after companies dealing foreign rations. I hope I am just the unlucky and rare case, that nothing has really changed.

I received another letter, and this time there was no warning of disclosure statement at the bottom so I will post it. The shipments referred to is a couple of Russian rations that I ordered before the letter, but have yet to receive. I'm going to turn in the meat components so I don't get in trouble receiving more imported rations after being warned in the letter.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: APHIS
Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 7:07 AM
To: Michael Simmons
Subject: RE: Importing meats through the mail

Hello Mr. Simmons,

Please contact me when you receive the shipments. See my contact info below. I can arrange for their collection and destruction. We would very much appreciate it. I will be in Fairbanks near the end of May.

In answer to your question in the previous email about importing products containing meat. It is you, the importer who applies for and holds the USDA VS permit. The permit would explain the specific requirements for imports based on the country of origin and animal products contained. More information can be obtained on the APHIS animal health webpage. But generally, you provide the shipper with a copy of your permit, they obtain the certification, and include both the permit copy and the certificate (and comply with any other requirements stated in the permit) with the shipment. You should also go to the FSIS website and FDA to understand their import rules.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocu ... EBFANjvecc!/

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/home
https://www.fda.gov/

I hope this is helpful information. Trade and agriculture regulations are developed through international cooperation agreements to prevent the spread of insects, invasive species, and plant and animal diseases. They are designed for commercial trade and not individual importation in the mail. There are multiple agencies that have a variety of requirements. If you do decide to pursue a permit to import animal products please be aware that other agency regulations for imports also apply. I cannot speak with any authority on the other agency requirements.

I would suggest obtaining an import broker with agriculture expertise to facilitate.

Respectfully,
USDA APHIS PPQ

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:12 pm
by mikeoverhere
vespa wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:40 pm
We don't really a major problem importing ration in the UK including outside the EU, I got Russian Army rations no problem.

It's not specifically forbidden to import food privately for personal consumption as far as I'm aware, the law is fairly vague on some things and to date never had a problem.
Most people in the US have no problem because they just haven't been caught. This incident is a warning to people that USDA may be stepping up enforcement in the US. It IS specifically forbidden to import meat to the US through the mail without fulfilling the legal requirements as my case has shown. USDA considers ALL food [CORRECTION, REPLACE "food" WITH "meat"] shipments from foreign countries entering the US through the US mail as commercial, and subject to the corresponding laws.

If they came down on me, a small time private sampler and importer of the occasional foreign ration, I fear what they would do to "actual commercial" shippers to include companies and their customers. While I was always aware of some risk, I didn't know it would be to me, or that they would catch me and make a case out of it, threatening legal action.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:41 pm
by vespa
You're probably right, it happens with any government agencies UK or USA, occasionally they want to flex their muscles and claim a scalp just to say "we're watching you"

People get scared for a while then it all settles down, business as usual, just a little bit more wised up.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:32 pm
by ViperGTS
My gosh, Mike, sorry for all this headache. I have no doubt USDA agents are on this and others forums like this, in disguise/guests.
I may be ignorant on this, but i figured if the package was accurately declared on the customs form, that there wouldnt be much issue, unless its from a country we are not on good terms with.
Again, i understand why they have restrictions, but for most of us this is just a fun & harmless hobby and they should use the countless tax dollars they are putting on this farce for something more important.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:29 am
by mikeoverhere
ViperGTS wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:32 pm
My gosh, Mike, sorry for all this headache. I have no doubt USDA agents are on this and others forums like this, in disguise/guests.
I may be ignorant on this, but i figured if the package was accurately declared on the customs form, that there wouldnt be much issue, unless its from a country we are not on good terms with.
Again, i understand why they have restrictions, but for most of us this is just a fun & harmless hobby and they should use the countless tax dollars they are putting on this farce for something more important.
I don't know if USDA agents are truly on this or other social forums, eBay, or monitoring anything. I don't know how I got caught in this situation. It is just a possibility to consider especially if this is a signal that USDA is stepping up scrutiny, monitoring, and/or prosecution. None of that is confirmed and in the absence of proof can only be speculated about here. There wouldn't be an issue if; the package was accurately declared on the customs form, and if, the importer has the correct permit, and if, the shipper has a certification of inspection. Marking the package correctly is not enough legally speaking and is contrary to what USDA has told me as shown above. Such an assumption would be to think the US Government is "reasonable" - they aren't, at least IMHO. To quote "generally, you provide the shipper with a copy of your permit, they obtain the certification, and include both the permit copy and the certificate (and comply with any other requirements stated in the permit) with the shipment". That is the only legal way to ship it into the US via mail according to USDA

This definition of commercial vs personal consumption needs to be changed in the USDA regulations so that not ALL mailed shipments are considered commercial no matter what. I would say that if an importer did not resell the ration(s) and has no history of doing so, then they should be deemed private and not commercial. The burden of proof should be on USDA to prove the importer was doing so for commercial purposes, and not for private consumption. But I will have to leave that for the legal eagles and people with the money to get such legislative changes enacted.

I used to feel the same as most of us about importing rations but this has changed everything for me and should be considered as a healthy warning to others. Being discreet and anonymous may no longer be adequate protection from the USDA. I truly hope this is just a one off case and that there is no concerted effort by USDA to crack down on a harmless hobby. But hope does not rule reality. :cry:

Thank you to those of you with comments of sympathy. It is appreciated. But please don't fret for me, worry for our entire community and remain vigilant.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:39 am
by BTemple
mikeoverhere wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:29 am
ViperGTS wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:32 pm
My gosh, Mike, sorry for all this headache. I have no doubt USDA agents are on this and others forums like this, in disguise/guests.
I may be ignorant on this, but i figured if the package was accurately declared on the customs form, that there wouldnt be much issue, unless its from a country we are not on good terms with.
Again, i understand why they have restrictions, but for most of us this is just a fun & harmless hobby and they should use the countless tax dollars they are putting on this farce for something more important.
I don't know if USDA agents are truly on this or other social forums, eBay, or monitoring anything. I don't know how I got caught in this situation. It is just a possibility to consider especially if this is a signal that USDA is stepping up scrutiny, monitoring, and/or prosecution. None of that is confirmed and in the absence of proof can only be speculated about here. There wouldn't be an issue if; the package was accurately declared on the customs form, and if, the importer has the correct permit, and if, the shipper has a certification of inspection. Marking the package correctly is not enough legally speaking and is contrary to what USDA has told me as shown above. Such an assumption would be to think the US Government is "reasonable" - they aren't, at least IMHO. To quote "generally, you provide the shipper with a copy of your permit, they obtain the certification, and include both the permit copy and the certificate (and comply with any other requirements stated in the permit) with the shipment". That is the only legal way to ship it into the US via mail according to USDA

This definition of commercial vs personal consumption needs to be changed in the USDA regulations so that not ALL mailed shipments are considered commercial no matter what. I would say that if an importer did not resell the ration(s) and has no history of doing so, then they should be deemed private and not commercial. The burden of proof should be on USDA to prove the importer was doing so for commercial purposes, and not for private consumption. But I will have to leave that for the legal eagles and people with the money to get such legislative changes enacted.

I used to feel the same as most of us about importing rations but this has changed everything for me and should be considered as a healthy warning to others. Being discreet and anonymous may no longer be adequate protection from the USDA. I truly hope this is just a one off case and that there is no concerted effort by USDA to crack down on a harmless hobby. But hope does not rule reality. :cry:

Thank you to those of you with comments of sympathy. It is appreciated. But please don't fret for me, worry for our entire community and remain vigilant.
They ARE on this forum, they are all over eBay and they are closely monitoring all online ration shops that are based in the US that deal with international rations.
I know people personally who have been affected by this.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:42 pm
by housil
mikeoverhere wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:12 pm
USDA considers ALL food shipments from foreign countries entering the US through the US mail as commercial, and subject to the corresponding laws.
I´m sending pretty often "food" as crackers, candy, bread, cakes, baking mixtures, chocolate,cookies... to the USA and also declare(d) them at customs so and never had any trouble yet.
I agree importing/sending meat, dairy, fruits are prohibited, but not any "food".

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:34 am
by mikeoverhere
housil wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:42 pm
mikeoverhere wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:12 pm
USDA considers ALL food shipments from foreign countries entering the US through the US mail as commercial, and subject to the corresponding laws.
I´m sending pretty often "food" as crackers, candy, bread, cakes, baking mixtures, chocolate,cookies... to the USA and also declare(d) them at customs so and never had any trouble yet.
I agree importing/sending meat, dairy, fruits are prohibited, but not any "food".
Yes, I chose my words poorly. I stand corrected, It is animal products that they are concerned with. "ALL animal products making entry into the United States by mail require a permit and veterinary certification by an authorized official in the country of origin, and must be declared as a commercial entry on all documents." from the USDA.

So don't declare any animal crackers :lol:
BTemple wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:39 am

They ARE on this forum, they are all over eBay and they are closely monitoring all online ration shops that are based in the US that deal with international rations.
I know people personally who have been affected by this.
Dang. I wish more had come forward and I had heard about this, I might not have made the choices I did and gotten in trouble.

Re: The USDA is after me for ordering French Rations - IMPORTANT UPDATE POSTED April 8th!!! Everybody needs to read!

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:33 pm
by mikeoverhere
A few days ago I noticed a US business seller of US and foreign rations had a sudden change to their inventory pages. Now, there are no foreign meat products offered, only fish based components. I suspect they got hit by USDA. This is happening.

ETA: And another glance I see they are no longer offering foreign MRE's either. :cry: