The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) issued by FDA regarding the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) for importers of human and animal food.
The final rule requires that importers carry out certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States are produced in a way that meet all applicable American safety standards. The regulation is the product of significant level of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, the agency’s federal, state, local, tribal and international regulatory counterparts, academia and other stakeholders. The FDA first proposed this rule in July 2013.
After input received during the comment period and during numerous engagements that included public meetings, webinars, and listening sessions, the FDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in September 2014. The proposed revisions included providing importers flexibility in determining appropriate verification measures based on food and supplier risks, while acknowledging the greater risk to public health posed by the most serious hazards in food.
The final rule has elements of both the original and supplemental proposals, with the addition of greater flexibility in meeting certain requirements to better reflect modern supply and distribution chains. For example, importers can meet key FSVP obligations by relying on analyses, evaluations and activities performed by other entities in certain circumstances, as long as those importers review and assess the corresponding documentation.
The FDA is committed to helping importers to meet the FSVP requirements. In order to facilitate compliance FDA will provide guidance, outreach and training.