The mission of the Export Certification Program is to facilitate and expedite movement of Minnesota’s agricultural products into the domestic and international marketplace. Unit staff is responsible for inspecting and certifying agricultural products to ensure they meet the import regulations of the destination state or country. This program cooperates with the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine Program, Export Services, to issue federal documents for commodities entering foreign countries. Staff also serves as the important first contact for many exporters in their quest to establish a presence in the international marketplace. Trained staff (11 certification officials) is stationed in East Grand Forks, Bemidji, Staples, Nicollet, and St. Paul. Under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 18.G (2010), the export program collects and is fully funded by service fees.
Certification through this program is only available for raw or minimally processed plant products. For example, we can certify soybeans, but not soy milk. We also cannot certify oils, liquids, or food/feed additives. A good way to evaluate a product is to determine if the commodity has been processed, through heat or additives, such that the risk of plant pests has been eliminated. There are a few exceptions, however, for commodities that have risk of storage pests. We can certify Dried Distillers Grains with solubles (DDGs) and wheat flour, for example.
Products that are further processed, but still carry some risk of pests, such as animal feed with added minerals, can be certified with a processed product certificate. A processed product certificate, while not the same as a phytosanitary certificate, will be sufficient in many cases.
A phytosanitary certificate is an official document that verifies a commodity has been inspected by an authorized official and found to be relatively free of pests and pathogens. The literal definition of “phytosanitary” is plant (phyto) free of elements that endanger health (sanitary).
Adapted from the USDA Export Program Manual, Appendix E: Responsibilities
Applying for a Phytosanitary Certificate in PCIT:
Stephanie Visker, Program Coordinator: 651-201-6558
Mark Schreiber, Supervisor: 651-201-6388
Program E-mail: MDA.Exports@state.mn.us
Program Fax: 651-215-9687
PCIT (On-line Phytosanitary Certification Application Program)
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, email@example.com