Now that the May 30 deadline has passed, importers are required to comply with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) regulations to ensure that foreign goods they import are produced commensurate with documented U.S. safety standards. The FDA expects that compliance with the program will minimize entry times and FDA hold-ups for shipments.
FSVP: What the Rule Means
FSVP is part of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and a long-in-development initiative to ensure that goods imported from foreign sources are safe. The FSVP rule requires that U.S. importers import only from FSVP-approved suppliers, although they may import from an unapproved supplier on a temporary basis.
Importers must put into place a program of risk-based activities to verify that their foreign suppliers are producing and labeling food at the same level of public health protection as U.S. standards require.
Affected importers have 18 months from the May 30, 2017 date to bring their programs into compliance.
Who Is Affected by FSVP
For purposes of FSVP, an importer is the U.S. owner or consignee of a food offered by import into the U.S., or, if there is no U.S. owner or consignee, the U.S. agency or representative of a foreign owner. Click here to see if you are subject to FSVP.
What Importer Activities Are Required?
What qualifies as “appropriate” verification activities for a particular supplier depends on the types of foods being imported and the supplier’s compliance history. Some modifications and exemptions are allowed, but the importer must establish and follow written procedures to ensure in most cases that it only imports from approved foreign suppliers. Key responsibilities for the importer under the FSVP rules include:
- Determining known or reasonably foreseen hazards with each food
- Evaluating the risk posed by a food based on the hazard analysis and the foreign supplier’s performance.
- Using this evaluation to approve suppliers and determine supplier verification activities, such as audits, record reviews, etc.
- Conducting corrective actions if warranted.
What are the consequences for non-compliance with the FSMA rules?
WB Skinner urges its clients to be familiar with the requirements of the FSVP rules, and be aware of the implications for their businesses. Compliance with the program will minimize entry times and FDA hold-ups for their shipments.
View the Final FDA rule and its requirements here.