On July 26, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) proposed regulations for the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (“FSVP”) as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) of 2010. In this video, Benjamin England, Founder and CEO of FDAImports.com, discusses some of the implications of FSVP for foreign suppliers that will probably surprise you.
Stay tuned – we’ll be posting more videos and blogs explaining FSVP and its implications in the coming weeks. To learn more about the impact these regulations will have on your business, or to work with FDAImports.com on writing and submitting comments on the proposed FSVP rules, contact us today.
You know, it’s nice and easy for FDA to say that the importer is obligated to ensure compliance with the law. In fact, Michael Taylor, who’s the deputy commissioner for foods, made a comment during a press release when the proposed rule was published. He said, if an importer is not complying with FSVP, FDA will quote stop them from importing food unquote. Okay, well that sounds like a heavy-handed approach with respect to importers, but think about it. It might be that the food is in compliance with the law. It might be that the food is safe. The food might be unadulterated. It might be labeled correctly. It may have no allergens that are declared improperly. It may be in complete compliance with the law. And the problem is that the importer doesn’t have a foreign supplier verification program that FDA thinks is adequate. Or, worse, imagine a “qualified individual” was not involved in developing it.
Those kinds of circumstances would result in the food being refused – even though the food is safe, not adulterated, and properly labeled. And, worse, from the foreign supplier’s perspective – no longer in your control. It’s, in fact, in the United States, and maybe you haven’t been paid for it, and now it’s going to be refused, resulting in either exportation or destruction. Why? Because the importer failed to comply with their obligation under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program.
So what does that mean? It means that importers are not the only people in the supply chain that must think about how they’re going to document safety of the food or compliance with FSVP. The foreign supplier of food must also think about how the importer will prove they are in compliance with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. And so what that means is that the importer will be in a place where they will be supplying documentation back to the foreign market. It’s not going to be only coming inbound to the US – the documentation route is not just inbound – it will be whether or not the importer can prove the supplier whether the importer is in compliance – because if not, the foreign supplier can sell to another importer. So, foreign suppliers need to be thinking about how they can be ensuring that their importers comply with the law.
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© 2013 FDAImports.com.