plant of origin process
a) Eligible plants to export to Mexico according to FSIS
If a slaughter, processing, boning or cold storage plant located in the US wants to export to Mexico, it is necessary for the plant to be approved and authorized by the Mexican health authority: Mexican Service of Agricultural and Food Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA). In order to do this, the plant shall fill out and submit FSIS form 9080-3 to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which shall act as a contributor and intermediary between the plant and SENASICA.
b) Approaching FSIS and apply for plant approval
FSIS 9080-3 shall be submitted through the Public Health Information System (PHIS). Establishments not using the PHIS shall submit FSIS 9080-3 completed (without FSIS signatures) to FSIS Proxy to enter PHIS.
FSIS 9080-3 link is: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/Form_9080-3.pdf
FSIS 9080-3 shall include the following information:
● Establishment number.
● Establishment name and/or company name.
● Physical location of establishment.
● Facility type (slaughter, Processing, Boning or Cold Storage Plant).
● Species (Chicken, Pork, Beef, Lamb, etc.).
● Contact name, phone and fax numbers.
● Goods shall never be sent to Mexico until SENASICA authorization confirmation is received through FSIS.
Poultry and poultry product processing plants for exportation to Mexico will be evaluated by the health authority to physically verify that they comply with the requirements to be approved, and shall take into account, among others indicated by the health authority, the following:
● They shall have documented controls and ensure that they are met during the production and/or processing to export to Mexico;
● Workers shall wear appropriate exterior garments (for example, frocks, overalls, uniforms, etc.) covering any street clothes that may be exposed to the product or product contact surfaces;
● Footwear used in the establishment shall be clean. This may be achieved in different ways, such as: devoting washable boots exclusively for use in the plant; cleaning and sanitizing the footwear before entering any processing area; washing and sanitizing processes shall be followed before entering the plant; and/or other means to ensure clean footwear, such as: a sanitary footbath with sanitation solution.
● To prevent product contamination, the staff going into any processing area shall follow the washing and sanitation procedures needed for hands and footwear; and the necessary equipment shall be available at all times for the personnel.
● Wooden pallets and other wooden objects in the plant shall be clean and in good condition.
● Sanitizers are necessary for utensils, for example: knives, scissors and other instruments used in the cutting stations on the evisceration line, and in boning rooms.
c) Plant authorization, stamps and health Certificate
FSIS shall follow up on such application, if everything is in order, FSIS will certify the plant and will notify SENASICA in order to list the plant in the Authorized Plants Information System (SICPA) which contains all plants approved for export to Mexico from different countries. This list can be retrieved in the following link:
To see the full list, click on:
- General enquiry.
- Select the type of plant (select meat products).
- Select the US as country of origin to display all the plants, effective date, species, and the process authorized.
Once FSIS receives the positive notification for the listing of a plant by SENASICA, the plant will also be added to the current FSIS’s list of plants eligible in the US territory to export to Mexico. This list is available in the following link:
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/eligible-us-establishments-by-country/countries/mexico-plant-list, or through the export library on FSIS electronic page, or it can be requested by calling phone number: (202) 720-0082 or (855) 444-9904.
The authorized plants will be listed on both links mentioned above on the web page of both countries. Such lists are periodically updated.
● Once authorized, FSIS gives the plant a “unique identification number” (example: P-42) that will be used to stamp all cases, combos or packages with goods going to Mexico. With this stamp SENASICA’s staff will make sure the goods entering Mexico are coming from that plant.
● Packages and cases with goods shall be stamped/labeled with an USDA inspection stamp and with the establishment number (for example: P-42), assigned to the plant where the product is produced/processed, and it is the code to identify the plant.
● The establishment number may appear on the package inside the USDA inspection stamp as shown on the image. It may also appear anywhere on the outside of the container, or on the package label (for example: on the lid of a can) as long as it is presented predominantly, on all the goods and/or cases in a legible manner and of appropriate size ensuring good visibility and easy recognition.
Stamp for poultry meat
● FSIS and plant’s staff shall jointly sign and issue the origin health certificate –each load or shipment shall contain the corresponding health certificate.
Origin health certificate for exportation
It is the official document issued by the health authority of the country where the merchandise originated. It proves the compliance with requirements established for animal goods exportation prior documentary verification, and physical inspection authorizing the exit of such merchandise from the Country. And it guarantees the sanitary condition of the goods to be exported. The certificate has a specific and unique folio number per shipment. All required information in export documents issued by FSIS (to include FSIS Form 9060-5, FSIS Form 9060-7, and the certificate number block on all FSIS Letterhead Certificates) must be typed. Handwritten documents will not be accepted. Allowed handwritten entries into the export documents are the date signed and the certifying officials’ signature, name, and title. Blocks 6, 18, and 19 of FSIS Form 9060-5 can be typed or handwritten.
It is worthwhile mentioning that a significant number of shipment rejections by SENASICA is due to the wrong filling out, or inconsistencies in the origin sanitary certificate. Thus, it is extremely important to pay attention when filling it out, and to verify that it contains accurate and precise information.
Keep in mind that the establishment number with a “P” at the beginning refers to Poultry.
Effective Certificate Form FSIS 9060-5:
The origin health certificate is generally accompanied by a document called letterhead certificate, which provides required statements by the importing Country (Mexico) –FSIS Letterhead Certificate:
Continuation of FSIS form 9060-5A is sometimes issued and it certifies any additional requirements from Countries or form the Country products exceed the available number of lines (5) in the format FSIS 9060-5A:
To get further information on filling out FSIS form 9060-5, please click on the following link:
Once FSIS issues an origin health certificate for certain goods and if then differences are found, for example: it has errors; information is missing; the addressee name has changed; or –in the worst-case scenario– it is lost; an in lieu of certificate or replacement certificate is to be requested (in lieu of). To this end, FSIS form 9060-6 shall be filled out accompanying the previous certificate, and all of its copies; and the issuance of a new certificate shall be requested with any necessary corrections and with the real and correct data. It is important to submit the original, duplicate and quadruplicate; the triplicate is kept in the hands of the plant of origin.
Usually, the Customs Broker requests the certificate replacement by entering the FSIS web page, applies with the corresponding form and then it is submitted to the Veterinarian of the nearest USDA office to sign the original. To make the change, all copies of said certificate need to be submitted.
FSIS-9060-6 Replacement Certificate Form:
For any modification, update of your information and/or administrative changes (name, company name, address, transaction type or species change), it is necessary for the plant to submit the FSIS form 9080-3 through PHIS. The information presented on the form, is the one to be sent to Mexico. For example, the establishment is currently authorized to export poultry, and now it wishes to export both poultry and pork, the necessary requirements both for poultry and pork shall be reviewed and authorized. If only the information is changed to export pork, the update will eliminate the authorization for poultry. Data modifications or updates are not changed automatically in the listing of plants approved by Mexico.
If the company name on the form exceeds 150 characters (including spaces and punctuation marks), the goods will have setbacks at the border due to problems with the technical database on the Mexican Foreign Trade Digital Window (VUCEM). Thus, the limit of the company name in all application forms shall be of less than 150 characters.
USDA’s Service Centers:
d) Points to be considered for shipments.
When the plant is ready to send loads to Mexico, the following considerations shall be taken into account:
● The goods must be in optimum conditions, and the shipment shall match the document information.
● The goods shall be appropriately packaged and arranged in new cardboard cases.
● The pallets must have the USA ISO code stamp or mark, and are in compliance with FAO Standards.
● The plant stamp shall be clearly and visibly marked on all cases and/or containers.
● That the container where goods are transported must be cleaned and sanitized.
● The labels of goods must contain the required information clear and visible.
● The origin health certificate must not be erased or corrected when submitted, and it must contain the signatures of FSIS and the plant’s staff.
● Certificate number shall be also placed on cases and/or containers of goods.
● That the shipping company driver has necessary instructions to transport the goods towards Mexican Customs.
● The Importer and Customs Broker are notified that the goods are ready to leave the plant towards Mexico (in order for all the stakeholders to be informed and to avoid setbacks).
e) Critical inconsistencies or defects detected in the loads from a plant.
When SENASICA detects a second shipment from the same plant which is positive for toxic residues, or critical defects, the product retained at the point of entry will be rejected. Then, SENASICA will issue an official communication to USDA-FSIS informing and detailing the reasons for the cancelation of the plant of origin (deslisted) and indicating that it may no longer send export shipments to Mexico, and that plant will be removed from SICPA.
When the rejection is due to the importation of some lot of product, the documentation and product will be stamped with the “Rejected” legend.
Once the USDA-FSIS receives the communication, the plant will be notified and together with USDA, they shall:
● Issue a detailed report in writing before 30 working days as of the date when USDA-FSIS acknowledged it was notified.
● Carry out an investigation identifying the root cause of such deviation or issue.
● Indicate actions to be taken to solve inconsistencies found, as well as to ensure such a situation shall not happen again providing correct data.
● USDA-FSIS shall endorse and prove the information and corrective actions in said report, and it will submit it to the Mexican health authority.
● SENASICA will review the report in detail; analyze if the information and data provided are enough; if it is satisfied and willing to approve the plant again for its exports to Mexico be authorized again or request more information before authorizing the plant again.