Another possible reason for certification is to determine whether an importer is eligible to participate in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, she said.
Gombas asked how the FDA will select the foods required to have certification and how the industry will know what foods have been selected for greater scrutiny.
She said the FDA is considering its authority for to require certification.
“This authority to require certification went into effect upon enactment back in 2011; we have not used it to date and we are still working through the details on how and when we might use it,” she said.
Factors in requiring certification include type of food, its source and the food safety capacity of foreign governments.
Responding to a question from Gombas about the responsibilities of FDA accredited auditors, Christin said auditors are required to tell the FDA about potential serious food safety problems, whether they are performing a consultative audit or a regulatory audit.
Christin urged industry stakeholders to take part in the FDA’s public meeting on the proposed rules on Sept. 19-20 in Washington, D.C.
For questions about that meeting, contact Juanita Yates, FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740, or call 240-402-1731 and e-mail Juanita.Yates@fda.hhs.gov.