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  1. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Report on Three Regional FSMA Import Safety Meetings

The FDA has issued a report on the three public meetings it held in June 2016 in strategic regions (California, Michigan and New Jersey) on 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). The goal of the meetings was to give the public an opportunity to provide information, share experiences, and raise issues on implementation topics related to import safety. These topics include: increasing awareness and reaching the regulated community, potential partners on outreach and implementation, state of readiness, barriers to implementation, training and education for industry and regulators, guidance needs, promotion of best practices, technical assistance, compliance and enforcement issues, and long-term FSMA implementation success.

They included facilitated discussions of three overarching topics: the state of the import industry, VQIP, and education/outreach. This report highlights and summarizes the main feedback from participants and findings from the facilitated sessions.

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 participate when deciding whether to sign up for VQIP, which will provide expedited clearance to qualified participants.
  • FDA outreach and education efforts to foreign suppliers are considered of particular importance given the global scope of the issue.

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