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How to Import Saffron

Updated April 11, 2017

Importing spices is a fairly regular process and is not difficult if being used for personal use. Dried spices do not have to be declared in customs if they are being used by a sole participant, but may be more difficult if they are fresh and may harbour insects. Saffron, which is dried, can be simply taken in your suitcase. If you are importing it for commercial use you will have to contact several agencies for successful legal importation.

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  1. Contact an international saffron provider and reach a importation agreement. This will include quantity, packaging, and pricing of the saffron. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world by weight, so large quantities may require substantial investment.

  2. Contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding how to label the saffron for importation and distribution. This includes ingredients, nutritional information, and contents. In order to legally import and sell your imported saffron you will have to abide by these guidelines.

  3. File what is called a prior notice with the FDA. All commercial imports of food products require this filing. This will give you personal clearance to import saffron, and acceptance will be dependent on country of origin, quantity, and labelling.

  4. Register your foreign manufacturer with the FDA. All foreign manufacturers must register before they are able to export any spices in to the U.S. There are no restrictions or quotas on coffee, tea, and spices whether bottled, brewed or packaged. That means there is no limit to the amount of saffron you can import into the U.S. However, some products that contain these items may be subject to some restrictions or special duties, such as sauces, syrups, and soups.

  5. Read the publications "Importing Into the United States." "Marking of Country of Origin," and "The Harmonized Tariff Schedule." You can obtain the harmonised codes and duty rates for coffee, tea and many spices.

  6. Receive your imported saffron from the international manufacturer for distribution.

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About the Author

Brian Moynihan started writing in 2006 for "The Depaulia" newspaper. He has also written for "The Berkeley Beacon" and his creative works have appeared in "The Emerson Review" and "Literary Laundry." Moynihan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College.

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