This past week, Costco Wholesale Corporation became the first approved participant in the FSMA Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). This program is a voluntary, fee-based program that allows importers to receive expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the United States under the FSMA. Costco has shown management of safety and security of its supply chain over time and the FDA has allowed them to utilize VQIP to import certain food products into the US with greater speed and predictability. This should avoid unexpected delays upon import entry into the US. Overall, the FDA hopes to incentivize importers to use certified suppliers and implement robust processes and procedures to ensure imported food is successfully meeting U.S. food safety requirements.
To participate in VQIP, food importers have to meet certain eligibility requirements such as ensuring that the facilities of foreign suppliers are certified through the FDA’s Accredited Third-Party Certification Program. The VQIP application portal is open now through May 31, 2020. This would qualify for benefits between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
mdi has been working with several of our food clients in moving to get VQIP certified.
If you are interested in learning more about this program and how we can assist you, email us at email@example.com RE: FSMA.