The requirements for importing food will change this spring when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begins enforcing the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
The FSVP is a core piece of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA was signed into law by President Obama in 2011 and is one of the most progressive reforms to food safety laws in decades. The FSMA aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
The FSVP essentially requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards.
Who is the FSVP importer?
- The U.S. owner or consignee of the product
- If there is no U.S. owner or consignee at the time of entry, the foreign owner of the food must appoint a U.S. agent who will be responsible for ensuring that supplier verification activities are conducted for each food product imported. The FSVP agent must be designated in a written document with a signed consent by the agent. The FSVP agent should not be confused with the agent for food facility registration. They serve separate and distinct roles.
What are importers responsible for?
- Determining known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food.
- Evaluating the risk posed by a food, based on the hazard analysis and the foreign supplier’s performance.
- Using that evaluation of the risk posed by an imported food and the supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities.
- Conducting supplier verification activities.
- Conducting corrective actions.
- Identification of the "FSVP importer" for food products imported into the U.S.
- Establishing foreign supplier verification programs to verify that their foreign suppliers are using safe processes and procedures and that the food is not adulterated or misbranded.
What will the Customs Broker need?
- The FSVP importer must supply the FSVP importer's name, contact information and DUNS number. The ACE processing system will not allow a FDA food related entry to transmit to U.S. Customs and Border Protection without these pieces of information.
Can importers use 'internal' verification programs?
- Yes, FSVP importers can establish their own internal programs to verify suppliers by using an in-house "qualified individual" or the FSVP importer can utilize a third-party entity qualified to assist with the verification.
What are examples of approved verification activities?
- Annual on-site audits of the supplier's facility.
- Sampling and testing.
- A review of the supplier's relevant food safety records.
What are the exceptions to the FSVP?
- The requirements for dietary supplements vary according to a number of factors including whether the import is a finished product or an ingredient/component.
- Some small importers and importers from certain small suppliers may be exempt (see page 4 of this attachment.)
- There are modified requirements for certain foods from a foreign supplier in a country whose food safety system has been recognized as comparable or equivalent of the U.S. system.
- Categories not covered by FSVP include:
- Fish and fishery products
- Food for research or evaluation
- Alcoholic beverages and certain ingredients for use in alcoholic beverages
- Food that is imported for processing and future exports
- Low-acid canned foods (canned vegetables)
- Certain meat, poultry and egg products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the time of importation
When will the FSVP requirement begin?
Starting May 27, 2017, the FSVP importer must be identified on ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) entry documents.
Related Post: An Essential Element to Importing Food (Prior Notice)