THE FOREIGN SUPPLIER VERIFICATION PROGRAM – SIGNIFICANT NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPORTERS OF FOOD INTO THE US
The FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, and is the most significant reform of US food safety laws in over 70 years. The FSMA represents a dramatic change in the country’s regulatory approach to improving food safety by making prevention the key goal, rather than detection and response. Industry will be required to verify the safe production and handling of food, both domestic and imported, utilising comprehensive, risk-based standards.
In November 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule, under FSMA, to implement the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). The final rule was effective in January 2016, and importers have at least 18 months to comply.
The current food import system relies heavily on government inspection at the point of entry. The FSVP imposes a mandatory food safety programme that places major responsibility on importers and foreign suppliers, and FDA estimates that approximately 60,000 importers will be covered. This focus responds to the enforcement challenges resulting from the fact that 15 percent of the US’ food supply is imported, although less than 2 percent of imported foods are inspected upon entry.
Apr-Jun 2016 Issue
Keller and Heckman LLP