Importers covered by the Foreign Supplier Verification Program faced their first major compliance date May 30, and the Food and Drug Administration is providing insight on what importers need to know about the rule.
The Food Safety Modernization Act states the same preventive food safety standards apply to food consumed in the U.S., regardless of where the food is produced, according to a news release. The Foreign Supplier Verification Program satisfies this principle by requiring importers to verify that their foreign suppliers of food meet applicable FDA safety standards, according to the release.
Sharon Mayl, senior advisor for policy in the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine at FDA, said in an interview posted on the FDA website that the agency has done a lot of outreach already to help importers understand the regulations.
“However, we understand that this is new to a lot of importers, so our approach will be to educate while we regulate to create a culture of compliance,” she said in the interview. “Importers can expect interactive FDA inspections with opportunities to explain how their programs meet our requirements and how they will take corrective actions if we observe deficiencies.”
Initial enforcement strategies will focus on food safety problems that pose an imminent public health risk, she said in the interview.