The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) plays a large role in global food safety, and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) rule is something every U.S. food importer needs to be compliant with. The rule was created for two reasons: to prevent potentially adulterated food from being imported to the U.S., and to ensure imported food is produced under the same food safety requirements as domestic products. But, is it possible to develop and implement a compliant FSVP without personally visiting foreign suppliers? Absolutely!
The key is to determine what is needed to demonstrate that FSVP requirements are being met. For the most part, the importer’s responsibilities are the same as those of a U.S. manufacturer who sources raw materials and ingredients locally.
The FSVP importer is responsible for verifying that the food or raw materials/ingredients produced by the foreign suppliers are being manufactured, raised, or harvested in accordance with relevant sections of the FD&C Act, depending on the type of food product being imported. The importer will be held responsible by FDA for the food safety of all imported food products, including food-contact substances.
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