How Will FSMA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Work?

How Will FSMA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Work?

FDA officials outline the benefits of VQIP in an online conversation.

January 2, 2018

In an online conversation, “Outlining the Benefits of the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program,” Amelia Tetterton, a Consumer Safety Officer in the Import Program Development and Implementation Branch in FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, said, “The FDA will expedite import entry into the U.S. for all foods included in an approved VQIP application. We use an import screening tool called PREDICT (Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting) to electronically assess whether incoming shipments of food products should be subjected to examination and/or sampling. We will be setting up PREDICT to recognize shipments of food that are part of the VQIP program and, in most cases, immediately release the shipment without further examination and sampling. This will reduce delays at the border for the approved VQIP importers.”

“We will generally limit our examination and sampling of approved VQIP food to ‘for cause’ situations in which we suspect a potential risk to public health, such as possible contamination or misbranding,” said Doriliz De Leon, a Consumer Safety Officer in the Food Adulteration Assessment Branch in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “if the FDA does intend to examine or sample a VQIP food, the location of such sampling or examination would, to the extent possible, be at the VQIP food’s destination or another location chosen by the importer. And if the FDA samples a VQIP food, laboratory processing of such samples would be expedited,” she added.

Read more of the conversation on what products can be included, criteria importers need to meet, how and when to apply and how FDA will evaluate applications on the FDA website.