On June 16, 2016, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. APHIS–2008–0119] clarifying the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.) declaration requirements. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Lacey Act to provide, among other things, that importers submit a declaration at the time of importation for certain plants and plant products. Enforcement of the declaration requirement began on April 1, 2009, and products requiring a declaration are being phased-in. The purpose of the notice is to clarify that the declaration is required for all formal consumption entries of plant and plant products into the United States, including those entries from foreign trade zones and bonded warehouses.

In a February 2009 notice, APHIS stated that it would be enforcing the declaration requirement only as to formal consumption entries (i.e., most commercial shipments). APHIS also stated that it did not intend to enforce the declaration requirement for informal entries (i.e., most personal shipments), personal importations, mail (unless subject to formal entry), transportation and exportation entries, in-transit movements, carnet importations (i.e., merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within a year), and U.S. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) and bonded warehouse entries.

APHIS has become aware of certain instances where a Plant and Plant Product Declaration has not been filed for plant or plant products entered into the United States from FTZ and bonded warehouses. This practice is not in conformity with the purpose and intent of the Lacey Act, as amended. APHIS is publishing the notice to make clear that such a declaration is required for all formal consumption entries of plant and plant products imported into the United States, including those entries from FTZ and bonded warehouses. However, such declarations are not required for admission into such FTZ or bonded warehouses, which is what APHIS was referring to in the February 2009 notice when it stated that it did not intend to enforce the declaration requirement for FTZ and warehouse entries.