242 Inspection of Packages

Any package selected under subsection 241 is submitted to an agricultural inspector assigned to perform terminal inspections, or an officer of Fish and Wildlife Services, for application of the following procedure:

  1. If the package is not classified as Priority Mail Express™ service (domestic or international), Priority Mail® service, First–Class Package Service™, or an international letter package, it may be opened and its contents examined.
  2. If the package does come within one of these stated classes (and is therefore sealed against inspection), it may be opened and its contents examined only if (1) the package displays on its exterior the sender's statement that it may be opened for inspection; (2) the agricultural inspector telephones the addressee or sender, obtains his or her consent to open the package and examine its contents, and certifies on a form submitted to the Postal Inspection Service that such consent was obtained; or (3) when neither of the foregoing types of authorization to open and examine is available, a federal search warrant is obtained based on probable cause to believe that the contents of the package will evidence violation of the marking requirement of the Terminal Inspection Act.
  3. USDA may be limited in their inspection authority; however, The Endangered Species Act [16 § 1540(e)] states that authorized U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (and Treasury) personnel “may detain for inspection any package, crate, or other container including its contents, and all accompanying documents upon importation or exportation.”

Any opening of a package or examination of its contents pursuant to the provisions of this section must be conducted in the presence of a Postal Service employee specifically assigned to oversee such activities.