As an international traveler, I wonder if one can bring some beef purchased from the corner butcher shop in the old country? Correct answer – depends on the agriculture inspector at the port of entry. Politically correct answer – probably not.
FSIS Recent directive “IMPORTATION OF PRODUCTS FOR OTHER THAN COMMERCIAL PURPOSES” states that FSIS regulations allow three classes of products covered by the FMIA, PPIA, or EPIA to be imported from any country without meeting all FSIS requirements. These product classes are (1) products for personal consumption; (2) products for laboratory examination, research, evaluative testing, or trade show exhibition; and (3) shipments destined for sale in foreign commissaries located in the United States.
FSIS’s regulations, 9 CFR 327.16 would allow a person to bring a 50 lb case of meat from the old country: “Any product in a quantity of 50 pounds or less which was purchased by the importer outside the United States for his/her own consumption, is eligible to be imported into the United States from any country without compliance with the provisions in other sections of this part but subject to applicable requirements under other laws, including the regulations in part 94 of this title. However, Program employees may inspect any product imported under this section to determine whether it is within the class eligible to be imported under this paragraph.”
So, the problem is not FSIS, the problem appears to be APHIS. The directive states that “These three classes of products are required to meet Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) import requirements (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml).” Under APHIS, an international traveler would need to apply for the permit with Veterinary Services. In the process, it would be required to submit information that is not likely obtainable from the corner butcher shop in the old country (e.g. treatment of the material prior to importation in the US, see Import Permit). But even if obtainable, one takes a risk of having APHIS-VS football you back to FSIS (see VS processing changes related to FSIS exempted foods).
Thus, unless you really must bring that meat with you, it is probably better to eat it abroad.