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The Food and Drug Administration is asking importers to send records required by the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Foreign Supplier Verification Programs electronically.

Because of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the FDA in mid-March suspended on-site FSVP audits at exporter’s facilities. The agency is shifting to a remote inspection model during the public health emergency, according to an April 3 news release.

The FSVP rule requires importers to verify that their export partners produce food in compliance with U.S. food safety standards. Because of travel restrictions caused by the spread of the virus, the FDA suspended on-site inspections and document verification.

The FDA will immediately begin conducting a limited number of remote inspections, prioritizing those that have been postponed because of COVID-19. The agency is contacting importers to explain the process and making requests for written records, according to the release.

On-site inspections could still be done in rare cases, such as in response to a foodborne illness outbreak.

Questions about the changes to inspection protocols can be sent to [email protected]

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