Foreign Supplier Verification Program Compliance Date Approaching - FDA-recognized training curriculum now available

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The compliance date for the FSVP rule is May 30, 2017, but many importers, brokers and distributors are unaware of what it means for their business. The FDA-recognized training curriculum has now been released, and D.L. Newslow & Associates, Inc. is offering training specials for on-site workshops.

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According to sources within the agency, the FDA is prepared to enforce the FSVP rule immediately when it goes into effect.

The Foreign Supplier Verification Program, or FSVP, is a brand-new, mandatory FDA (Food & Drug Administration) program for importers of food intended for consumption in the United States. The compliance date for all importers is May 30, 2017. On that date, a new section, titled FSVP Importer, will appear in ACE (Automated Customs Environment). The information entered in this section will be compiled into a database from which the FDA will work.

The FDA will send electronic records requests to the FSVP Importers after the food has already entered the country, and those persons will be expected to provide the appropriate food safety paperwork for the load. The FDA is prepared to enforce this rule immediately when it goes into effect, according to sources within the agency.

What does this mean for brokers, distributors, and other importers of food? The responsibility lies on the shoulders of the FSVP Importer, and that entity must ensure that the food safety paperwork is on file before the load is shipped. How do brokers, who may not know much about food safety (but know a lot about the process of clearing loads for import) know what paperwork they should accept? Who is authorized to act as the FSVP Importer? Is the Importer of Record even authorized to act as the FSVP Importer? Each case is different, and the nuances can be quite complicated to understand – but one thing is certain, if the fields are not filled out, ACE will automatically reject the filing.

This is an interesting conundrum. The answer is that brokers and distributors need to educate themselves to protect themselves from liability, both from the FDA and from their customers and suppliers. It is possible that the FDA will expect brokers to reveal their sources to their customers to maintain an unbroken chain of documentation, especially on high-risk foods.

What is a high-risk food? Basically, any food that has been associated with a Class I recall, import alert or warning letter may be on this list. Those foods are not always what a layperson might expect. For example, spices such as cumin and turmeric are considered high-risk for the presence of allergens and heavy metals, respectively. Fresh produce is also considered high-risk, especially products like green onions, spinach and tomatoes. While some of us may have heard of some of these recalls, it is unlikely that people outside the food safety industry are aware of all of them.

What should a broker, distributor or other importer do in this situation? The best approach is to educate yourself about the new laws. Only a few companies are authorized to teach the ONLY curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA. D.L. Newslow & Associates, Inc., located in Orlando, Florida is the premier source for all Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training, including Foreign Supplier, Preventive Controls for Human or Animal Food, Food Defense and Sanitary Transportation. We are offering training specials for clients located in the Southeast who wish to hold on-site workshops. Call the office at (407) 290-2754 or reach out electronically at or on our website to receive a fast response even outside normal business hours.

We understand that you don’t rest when it comes to protecting your business, and we are your ally in education, consulting and training for yourself and your staff. Contact us today to learn more about what you need to do to be compliant with the latest FDA regulations, and ask about our referral program, group discounts and other special programs to help you save money while staying on the forefront of the latest developments in the industry. Waiting until an import alert is issued is too late – get compliant now and avoid the rush!

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Erika Miller
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