• Requirements for Importers Under FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program

    FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program

    In an effort to protect the health and safety of U.S. consumers and our food supply, the FDA has proposed a new reform that regulates foreign suppliers’ practices and facility maintenance. According to the FDA, “a foreign supplier is an establishment that manufactures/processes food, raises the animal, or harvests the food that is exported to the United States without further manufacturing or processing”.

    FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program Requirements 

    The FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program is intended to ensure that all food imported into the United States meets the same health and safety requirements as food produced domestically. All importers need to ensure that their foreign suppliers are verified and meet FDA regulations. The FSMA calls for increased FDA inspections of foreign food facilities and also calls for additional responsibilities for the importer and foreign supplier whose products are exported to the United States for consumption.

    According to the FDA, all importers are responsible for the following initiatives:

    1.  Compliance status review of foods and suppliers
    2.  Hazard analysis
    3.  Supplier verification activities
    4.  Corrective actions (if necessary)
    5.  Periodic reassessment of Foreign Supplier Verification Program
    6.  Importer identification at entry
    7.  Record keeping

    The FDA recommends timely and accurate record keeping of all Food Safety Modernization Act and Foreign Supplier Verification Program initiatives and activities. Such record keeping will expedite any inquiries regarding the reforms and will allow the importer to resume business as quickly as possible.

    FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program Exemptions

    The following are exempt from the FSVP:

    • Imports of juice and seafood where the suppliers are in compliance of HACCP regulations
    • Food imports for research and evaluation purposes
    • Food imports for personal consumption
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Food transshipments
    • Products from facilities subject to FDA’s low acid canned food requirements

    Effective &Compliance Dates

    According to the FDA:

    – Effective dates are expected to be 60 days after publication of the final rule

    – Compliance dates are generally 18 months after publication

      • 6 months after the importer’s foreign supplier is required to comply with the new preventative controls or product safety regulations

    Resources:
    Food Supplier Verification Program