Critical Information for Food Imports
Starting May 27, 2017, the FDA will begin implementing the FDA’s Food Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
What is FSVP?
A central feature of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FSVP is intended to be a flexible, risk-based program to verify foreign suppliers and the safety of the food they produce. FSVP will require:
- Identification of the “FSVP importer” for food products imported into the U.S.
- The FSVP Importer is responsible for establishing foreign supplier verification programs to verify that that their foreign suppliers are using safe processes and procedures and that the food is not adulterated or misbranded.
As it now stands, the FSVP Importer must be identified on ACE entry documents after May 27. As for importer responsibilities to verify foreign suppliers, we expect the FDA will do “soft” compliance initially, recognizing that this is a major change for importers. Nevertheless, each importer must determine if he is the FSVP Importer (and, if not, who is) so they can begin efforts to verify foreign suppliers.
Who Is the FSVP Importer?
The FSVP Importer might be, but is not necessarily, the same party as the Importer of Record. The FSVP importer must be a U.S. party with a direct financial interest in the food product. Specifically, the FSVP Importer is:
- the U.S. owner or consignee of the product
- if there is no U.S. owner or consignee at the time of entry, the foreign owner of the food must appoint a U.S. agent who will be responsible for ensuring that supplier verification activities are conducted for each food product imported. The FSVP agent must be designated in a written document with signed consent by the agent. The FSVP agent should not be confused with the agent for food facility registration. They serve separate and distinct roles.
The FDA defines U.S. owner/consignee as the person who, at the time of entry, owns the food, has purchased the food, or has agreed in writing to purchase the food.
After May 27, for each line entry of food product offered for import into the U.S., the name, contact info, DUNS # of the FSVP Importer must be provided in ACE at the time of entry.