FDA implements new import food safety rules

Food Importers and Producers Will See Major Changes from New FDA Rules

New food safety rules announced Nov. 13 by the Food and Drug Administration will have a major impact on food importers and foreign producers of food for the U.S. market. For the first time, importers will be accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards and food producers will be subject to enforceable safety standards. The FDA has also created a new program to accredit third-party certification bodies that will conduct food safety audits of foreign food facilities. These rules will be effective as of Jan. 26, 2016.

The actions were taken under directive from the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The FDA FSMA rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals is now final, and compliance dates for some businesses begin in 18 months.

The final rule requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards

  • Who is covered by the rule?
    • For the purposes of FSVP, an importer is the U.S. owner or consignee of a food offered for import into the United States. If there is no U.S. owner or consignee, the importer is the U.S. agency or representative of the foreign owner of consignee at the time of entry, as confirmed in a signed statement of consent. See Am I Subject to FSVP? (PDF: 95KB) for more information.
    • There are exemptions discussed below.
  • What is an FSVP?
    It is a program that importers covered by the rule must have in place to verify that their foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as the preventive controls or produce safety regulations, as appropriate, and to ensure that the supplier’s food is not adulterated and is not misbranded with respect to allergen labeling.

For more information on the FDA’s new rules, please contact:
Shelly Garg
(305) 894-1043.

Information Source: FDA.comSTR