As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), U.S. importers of food must implement a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) to ensure that food products produced abroad comply with FDA’s rules and regulations.
Under FSVP, “importers [are] required to perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as that required of domestic food producers.”
In developing an FSVP, importers of food products will need to analyze the hazards associated with the imported food and evaluate the associated risks posed by these foods. Food importers must work with a qualified individual to establish a written verification program, which will become part of the company’s larger preventive controls plan.
Ann Marie Gaitan, our lead the FDA compliance attorney assists domestic food importers with the compliance needs of FSVP. Similarly, Mrs. Gaitan counsels foreign food companies of U.S. food safety requirements to prevent food import detentions and FSMA violations.
Our FDA compliance attorneys counsel companies on the requirements of the Foreign Supplier Verification rule, including:
· determining whether or not a company is an “importer” under FSMA’s FSVP
· determining if imported food products are exempt or excluded from the FSVP
· review and assess written importer verification programs, as well as foreign suppliers’ food safety plans
· updating business contracts between importers and food suppliers to ensure responsibilities under FSMA are adequately defined and delegated
· resolving import detentions
FSVP compliance requirements become effective May 2017. Small businesses with less than 500 employees will have until March 19, 2018, and very small businesses averaging less than $1 million in sales of human food per year, during the 3-year period preceding the applicable calendar year will have until March 18, 2019.
Since compliance with FSVP requires cooperation between suppliers and importers, it is important that companies not wait until the last minute to begin evaluating their practices in order to develop an adequate verification plan. Contact Ann Marie Gaitan, Esq., [email protected], to ensure you are prepared by the FSVP implementation date.