U.S. FSMA delegates responsibility to importers in evaluating safety of imported foods

FSMA Final Rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals

The final rule requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards.

Under the FSVP importers covered by the rule must have a program in place to verify that their foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as the preventive controls or produce safety regulations and to ensure that the supplier’s food is not adulterated and is not misbranded with respect to allergen labeling.

Importers have the flexibility to tailor supplier verification activities to unique food risks and supplier characteristics.

The options include:

- annual on-site audits of the supplier’s facility, as appropriate

-·sampling and testing

-·a review of the supplier’s relevant food safety records

An importer can rely on another entity (other than the foreign supplier) to determine and perform appropriate supplier verification activities.

Importers are also required to develop, maintain and follow an FSVP for each food brought into the United States and the foreign supplier of that food.

The evaluation of the risk posed by the imported food and the supplier’s performance must be reevaluated at least every three years, or when new information comes to light about a potential hazard or the foreign supplier’s performance.

Importers must promptly take appropriate corrective actions if necessary, and preventive controls regulations, when applicable.

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