September 19, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be opening the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) application portal on October 1, 2018. This is three months earlier than originally scheduled to allow importers to submit their Notice of Intent to Participate and their completed VQIP applications early for the Fiscal Year 2020 benefit period.
VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that provides expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the United States for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.
To participate, importers will meet certain eligibility requirements, which include ensuring that the facilities of their foreign supplier are certified under the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program. Under this program, also established by FSMA, FDA recognizes accreditation bodies that are responsible for accrediting third-party certification bodies, also known as third-party auditors.
Certification bodies will conduct food safety audits of foreign facilities and farms, and issue the certifications that importers need to participate in VQIP. Thus far, one certification body has been accredited by a recognized accreditation body.
For importers interested in participating in VQIP, FDA will hold a webinar on September 20, 2018 from 1:00-1:45 pm Eastern. There are limited spots available. To register for the webinar, please visit the meeting page. If you are unable to register, a recording will be posted following the webinar.
Importers can learn more about this program on the VQIP webpage, and can submit questions about the program to the VQIP Importer’s Help Desk via phone at 1-301-796-8745 or email at FSMAVQIP@fda.hhs.gov.
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