( FDA )

A new online tool can help importers determine if their suppliers have a clean food safety record.

The Food and Drug Administration said a new section of the agency’s data dashboard can help importers easily find compliance and enforcement information related to specific firms, according to a news release. It is a supplement to the agency’s existing Supplier Evaluation Resources page.

Both the foreign supplier verification programs rule and the preventive controls for human food rule contain supply-chain requirements that require checks of food safety practices of suppliers.

The foreign supplier verification programs rule requires importers to perform risk-based activities to make sure their suppliers are meeting U.S. food safety standards, according to the release. One of those activities is an evaluation of a supplier’s performance and the risk associated with the food. In doing that, the release said importers can evaluate a supplier’s compliance with FDA regulations such as whether the supplier is subject to an FDA warning letter, import alert, or other FDA compliance action related to food safety. 

In a similar way, the preventive controls rule requires manufacturers/processors to perform supplier approval if the ingredient supplied contains a hazard requiring a supply-chain applied control, according to the release. Supplier approval includes evaluation of the supplier’s compliance with food safety laws and regulations. 

The release said FDA’s expansion of the data dashboard to make it easier to search for the food safety records of suppliers is one way FDA is working to help industry comply with the new food safety standards.