September 2, 2016
The FDA held public meetings in June 2016 in three strategic regions (California, Michigan and New Jersey) on the implementation of import safety programs under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), Accredited Third-Party Certification, and the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP).
Today, the agency released a report on what importers and other interested parties had to say. The meetings were designed to assess the state of importer readiness, elicit feedback, ideas, and comments regarding FSMA programs, and identify training and outreach ideas that could be helpful in supporting industry compliance with FSVP requirements.
After listening closely to 350 importers, food producers, and foreign and industry association representatives, and analyzing data, a number of themes from the participants’ responses emerged. These include:
- Members of industry want help in understanding what is required under the FSMA provisions, including clearer, concise information from the FDA.
- Small importers and food producers are at higher risk of failing to comply with FSVP.
- Importers will likely consider cost, return on investment and effort necessary to participant when deciding whether to sign up for VQIP, which will provide expedited clearance to qualified participants.