Under the US Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed regulations, US food importers for the first time must ensure that imported food for humans and animal is as safe as domestically produced food.
Promulgated under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the rules, if adopted, would set parameters for foreign supplier verification programs (FSVPs) that importers must create and follow to safeguard the nation’s food supply. The proposed rules also call for an accreditation program for third-party auditors of imported food.
According to last week’s FDA press release,
[t]he new measures respond to the challenges of food safety in today’s global food system. Imported food comes into the United States from about 150 different countries and accounts for about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply, including about 50 percent of the fresh fruits and 20 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.
If food importers fail to comply with the new rules, they are subject to entry and/or eligibility denials to participate in FDA’s voluntary qualified importer program (VQIP) for expedited review and entry of food, which is currently in development. The public comment period on the proposed rules closes on November 26.