FDA Wants Importers|to Verify Suppliers

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new regulations that would require importers to verify that the food they get from foreign suppliers is safe for humans and animals.
     The proposed Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs) focus on foreseeable food safety risks identified through a hazard assessment process, according to the FDA in its action.
     The new regulation is aimed at reducing illnesses and deaths connected to imported food.
     “The greater the compliance with those regulations, the greater the expected reduction in illnesses and deaths, as well as the costs associated with them,” the FDA noted.
     The specific FSVPs would vary depending on the food product, and assures that foreign food suppliers use the same processes and preventive controls as their American counterparts under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
     Certain exemptions do exist, including for some juices, fish and fishery products (which are already subject to the FDA’s Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points regulations), food for personal consumption, alcoholic beverages, food that stops at other ports before arriving in the U.S., food that is imported for re-export and food for research or evaluation, according to the FDA’s action.
     Some of the requirements proposed under the new regulations include review of the supplier compliance status, hazard analysis, and documentation of supplier hazard controls.
     Under the regulations, onsite audits of foreign suppliers would be required, but some importers, depending on the product, could conduct lot-by-lot sampling and testing, and safety record reviews.
     In addition, the FDA has proposed an amendment to its regulations “to provide accreditation of third-party auditors/certification bodies to conduct food safety audits of foreign food entities, including registered foreign food facilities, and to issue food and facility certifications under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” the FDA said in its action.
     The accreditation is another move to ensure potentially harmful food will not make it to the United States.
     According to the FDA, about 15 percent of all food eaten in the U.S. is imported. About 50 percent of that is fruit and another 20 percent vegetables.
     “Several foodborne disease outbreaks have been traced to imported food, including outbreaks resulting from consumption of imported fruits, vegetables and nuts,” the FDA noted.

%d bloggers like this: