Importing Pistachios

Any importer who imports over 5,000 dried lbs. of pistachios is subject to Section 8e requirements and aflatoxin testing and certification of the imported pistachios.  The cost of the aflatoxin sampling and aflatoxin certification is paid by the applicant.  View the full import regulation (7 CFR Part 900.600).All pistachios imported into the United States must meet the following aflatoxin testing requirements prior to importation:Aflatoxin Sampling RequirementsAflatoxin testing requirements for imported pistachios are identical to those for pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.  View the full regulation (7 CFR Part 983).
  1. Prior to, or upon, arrival of a pistachio lot at a port of entry, the importer shall file electronically in the International Trade Data System’s ACE to request an inspection for the pistachio lot or lots. The Inspection Service office will draw and prepare samples of the pistachio shipment. More than one lot may be listed for one entry. The documentation shall include: The Customs entry number; the container number(s) or other identification of the lot(s); the weight of the pistachios in each lot being imported, the location where the lot will be made available for sampling; and a contact name or telephone number at the testing location. The Inspection Service shall sign, stamp, and return the entry document to the importer. The importer shall provide a copy of the relevant entry documentation and such other identifying information as may be requested for each pistachio lot to the inspector at the time samples are drawn and prepared.
  2. All sampling for aflatoxin testing shall be performed by USDA-authorized inspectors in accordance with USDA rules and regulations governing the inspection and certification of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products (7 CFR part 51). The cost of each such sampling and related certification shall be borne by the applicant. Whenever pistachios are offered for sampling and testing, the applicant shall furnish any labor and pay any costs incurred for storing, moving, and opening containers as may be necessary for proper sampling and testing. The applicant should make advance arrangements with the Inspection Service to avoid delay in scheduling sampling. Importers may make arrangements for required sampling by contacting the Inspection Service office closest to where the pistachios will be made available for sampling. For questions regarding inspection services, a list of Federal or Federal-State Inspection Program offices, or for further assistance, importers may contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1536-S, Washington, DC, 20250; Telephone: (202) 720-5870; Fax: (202) 720-0393.
  3. Lot samples shall be drawn from each lot of pistachios designated for aflatoxin testing, and individual test samples shall be prepared by, or under the supervision of, an inspector. Each sample shall be drawn and prepared in accordance with the sample size requirements outlined in Tables 1 and 2 below. The gross weight of the inshell lot and test samples for aflatoxin testing and the minimum number of incremental samples required are shown in Table 1. The gross weight of the kernel lot and test samples for aflatoxin testing and the minimum number of incremental samples required is shown in Table 2. If more than one test sample is necessary, the test samples shall be designated by the inspector as Test Sample #1 and Test Sample #2. Each sample shall be placed in a suitable container, with the lot number clearly identified, and the importer shall submit it, along with a copy of the customs entry documentation, to a USDA or USDA-accredited laboratory. The importer shall assume all costs for shipping samples to the laboratory.
Aflatoxin Testing Requirements: Importers may make arrangements for required chemical analysis for aflatoxin content at the nearest USDA or USDA-accredited laboratory. The laboratory will report the results of the aflatoxin testing directly electronically to the Compliance and Enforcement Management System (CEMS).  CEMS will forward test results to Customs and Border Protection through the CEMS and International Trade Data System linkage. For further information concerning chemical analysis and a list of laboratories authorized to conduct such analysis contact: Science and Technology Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0270, Washington, DC 20250-0270; Telephone: (202) 720-5231; Fax: (202) 720-6496.Maximum Aflatoxin Tolerance:  No importer shall ship for domestic human consumption lots of pistachios that exceed an aflatoxin level of 15 ppb. Compliance with the aflatoxin requirements of this section shall be determined upon the basis of sampling by a USDA-authorized inspector and testing by a USDA or USDA-accredited laboratory. All shipments must be covered by an aflatoxin inspection certificate issued by the laboratory. Testing and certification must be completed prior to the importation of pistachios. The mandatory sampling and aflatoxin testing and certification also applies to domestic product which was shipped outside the United States for such purposes as shelling or cracking, and is then imported back into the United States.Additional Information on Pistachio Aflatoxin TestingTimelineImporters should arrange for sampling of a pistachio lot prior to, or upon its arrival, at a port of entry, and the sealed sample presented to the importer by the inspector shall be sent immediately to the USDA or USDA-approved lab for the mandated aflatoxin testing and certification.