When Will FSVP Inspections of Produce Importers Begin?
In the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) regulation, compliance dates are set up so that, for many importers, compliance dates are linked to when the foreign supplier must meet the requirements of the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act rules (specifically, when the foreign supplier must meet the requirements of the Preventive Controls or Produce Safety rules).
For example, let’s take the case of an importer of food from a small foreign manufacturer subject to the Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation. (The term “small” is defined in the Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation.) That importer would have to comply with FSVP for the importation of products from that manufacturer six months after that supplier had to comply with Preventive Controls requirements. This was done to give the foreign suppliers time to come into compliance before the importer was responsible for verifying that compliance.
FDA intends to begin routine FSVP inspection of importers of produce from large farms in Fall 2019. (“Large” farms are those farms that do not meet the definition for “small business” or “very small business” under the Produce Safety rule.) This would allow for some time to pass between the July 2018 FSVP compliance date for those importers and the rollout of FDA’s routine inspections of the importers, an approach that we have found useful for several of our other FSMA programs. (There are different compliance dates for importers that import from sprouts farms.)
We note that this would mean that routine FSVP inspections of importers of produce from large farms would be approximately six months after FDA begins routine inspections of those large farms under the Produce Safety rule. This plan for FSVP inspections will help allow for orderly implementation of the provisions of both the underlying regulation and FSVP.
FDA is working to identify which importers import from large produce farms.