Importing Tomatoes

All tomatoes except pear-shaped, cherry, hydroponic, and greenhouse, imported into the United States must meet the minimum grade and size requirements prior to importation.  Grade and size requirements are in effect from October 10 through June 15 of each year. The cost of the inspection and certification is paid by the applicant.  View the full regulationNOTE: Section 8e requirements of imported tomatoes from Mexico have not been changed by the Tomato Suspension Agreement. Review our Frequently Asked Questions (pdf) to learn more about the tomato import requirements under Section 8e, as opposed to the Tomato Suspension Agreement. Grade Requirements - All tomatoes must grade at least U.S. No. 2. Size Requirements - All tomatoes must be at least 2-9/32 inches in diameter. Canadian InspectionThe tomato import regulations identify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a governmental inspection service for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality and maturity of tomatoes imported, or to be imported, into the United States.  These import regulations are currently being amended to require Canadian exporters of tomatoes into the United States to enter the CFIA certificate number and an electronic image of the CFIA certificate into CBP’s ACE system, which will transmit said certificate number and image to MOAD.   Specific ExemptionsTomato requirements do not apply to any tomatoes with minimum quantities not exceeding 60 lbs per day, or to pear shaped, cherry, hydroponic, and greenhouse tomatoes. The Importer's Exempt Commodity Form (SC-6) is used for tomatoes for consumption in exempted outlets such as charitable institutions, distribution by relief agencies, canning, and pickling.  Contact the Marketing Order and Agreement Division’s (MOAD) Compliance and Enforcement Branch at (202) 720-2491 for more information on filing the SC-6 exemption certificates within two days after the commodity enters the United States.The SC-6 exemption form must now be filed through the Compliance and Enforcement Management System (CEMS). The MOLS system previously utilized by AMS has been transitioned to CEMS. Visit Section 8e Exemptions – SC-6 Certificate for further information on the new CEMS and SC-6 Certificates. Also, visit Filing a SC-6 Certificate in CEMS for directions for registering for CEMS and instructions on filing a SC-6 Certificate. Tomatoes Failing InspectionTomatoes failing to meet the above import requirements may be: (1) exported; (2) disposed of under Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service supervision with the importer bearing the costs of certifying the disposal of such tomatoes; (3) diverted to an exempt outlet using the SC-6 form (see various approved outlets and procedures listed above) or; (4) reconditioned and reinspected with failed portion disposed under the procedures number (2) or (3) above. TimelineTomato importers should make arrangements for inspection and certification at least one day prior to entry at Port inspection offices, two days prior to entry at the Field Operations Section at the Washington Headquarters.