Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) began a pilot of the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Partner Government Agency (PGA) Message Set, which will allow a harmonized set of entry data that FSIS will collect electronically.

Announcing the pilot program last week, FSIS said that its Public Health Information System currently interfaces with CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment, enabling a seamless transfer of the data required for the application for FSIS import inspection, in advance of a food product shipment’s arrival. The pilot will involve two brokers and three ports — Philadelphia, Champlain and Houston.

Ultimately, the pilot will remove paper-based entry forms from the process and save agency resources by avoiding manual data entry. Inspection and enforcement will be more efficient by having the required data available prior to the shipment’s arrival at the official import inspection facility, benefitting the FSIS, industry, trading partners and U.S. citizens.

The pilot will lay the groundwork for the FSIS to fully implement the International Trade Data System, or “single window,” mandated for all federal agencies by the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006. Executive Order 13659 on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses, signed on Feb. 19, 2014, sets timelines for single window implementation.

To read the executive order, visit