FDA outlines expedited imports program
- The Food and Drug Administration has outlined the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The program could lead to quicker reviews and import approvals for qualified importers.
- This program will expedite food into the U.S. from "importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains," The Packer reported.
- To give facilities time to be certified, the program likely won't begin until January 2018.
Food importers to the U.S. can benefit from this program, but fresh fruit importers stand to benefit the most. With time constraints on the amount of time food can be held and shipped before it will have to be discarded by the time it makes it to the grocery store, expedited reviews and approvals could mean everything to companies who import substantial amounts of produce into the U.S.
For this program to be successful, the FDA needs to overcome two challenges: The qualifications need to be clear and applicable to a diverse set of importers, and the fee structure has to be reasonable enough that even small importers could participate.
If this program is a success, the food industry could see an influx of products with a proven safety track record, and the companies involved in the expedited imports could see massive growth as more of their products make it to market faster, which is particularly promising for produce importers.
- The Packer FDA creating program for expedited imports
- Food Safety News FDA Publishes Draft Guidance for Expedited Importer Program