What happens when my shipment is held for
examination at a port of entry?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) works within the
framework of the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) process at the ports.
Certain ports have specific requirements so
CPSC must adapt according to port.
If you need information about the CPSC
process in a specific port, please contact the
CPSC representative at that port.
Cargo may have been targeted for
examination by one or more federal agencies.
Once a shipment has been held for
examination, the responsible agency or
agencies are notified and will perform the
physical examination at the port of entry.
National CPSC targeting
Local CPSC targeting
Referral from another agency at the port (i.e.
CBP or FDA)
If you are an entity with access to the Automated
Commercial Environment (ACE), check to see if
documents are requested.
◦ If so, upload those documents to ACE for review.
If you are not, you can contact the local CPSC
representative for that port to find out if any
documents are required.
The customs house broker or the importer
determines which Centralized Examination Site
(CES) they would like to use for the physical
CPSC is physically co-located with CBP at Port Newark
◦ a CPSC representative is available for cargo examinations every
Once cargo is offloaded from a ship, that container
must be screened by CBP and then sent to the CES of
choice, where it awaits its turn for examination.
CPSC is notified that a shipment is ready for full
examination once that shipment is physically unloaded
from the container and made available on the CES
CPSC examines cargo and conducts field screening for a
variety of potential health and safety hazards.
Full Release of all cargo
Sampling and Conditional Release of specific
items in the shipment
Sampling and Detention of specific items in
Other possibilities exist, but these are the
three main outcomes after a physical
If all cargo passes field screening and document review,
CPSC will notify CBP that no further action will be taken by
At this point CBP, will either input the full release of the
cargo into ACE and ATS or CBP may elect to take further
action on the same cargo for a purpose not related to CPSC.
Neither the customs house broker nor the firm will be
notified of the release until CBP completes the full release
process. However, you are always welcome to reach out to
the local CPSC representative for an update on ONLY CPSC
A sample of each potentially violative product will be
gathered and sent to HQ for further evaluation.
The product will typically remain at the CES, under CPSC
detention, during the evaluation process. In rare cases, the
product will be conditionally released to the Importer of
Record pending evaluation.
CPSC will issue either a Notice of Sampling and Detention,
CPSC form 352, or a Notice of Sampling and Conditional
Release, CPSC form 353 to the broker and/or Importer of
Local CPSC will request documents as needed (i.e.
Children’s Product Certificate and third-party test reports).
The samples of potentially violative merchandise
are processed by CPSC at the port
(photographed, electronically recorded and
physically packaged and shipped to HQ).
Units of the product are sent to various offices
within CPSC depending on the type of potential
Each office evaluates the product, a CPSC
Compliance Officer discusses results with the
firm and a final determination is made.
CPSC HQ notifies the local CPSC representative of the
final determination regarding each sampled product.
Local CPSC notifies CBP of the findings and requests
that certain action be taken:
◦ Release Without Condition
◦ Conditional Release
◦ Other requests are possible, but these three are most likely.
Once CPSC requests that CBP take an action - CBP,
the CES and the broker and/or Importer of Record
coordinate as needed.