If you are unaware of the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), it is a voluntary fee-based program that allows for expedited review and import entry of food for humans and animals into the United States under the FDA Food and Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA has recently just approved 3 participants into this program; Costco Wholesale Corporation, Pacific Seafood Co., Inc., and Sovena USA, Inc. Participants approved for the VQIP are listed on the FDA’s website. In order to participate, these participants needed to meet eligibility criteria and pay a user fee to cover the cost’s of the program.
The VQIP benefits not only importers, but consumers as well. The program allows for a swift, easier import entry because the FDA will expedite foods included in an approved VQIP application. In certain situations, they will perform limited examination and sampling as well as at a location preferred by the VQIP importer. If a sample is needed by the FDA, it’s laboratories will prioritize the processing of VQIP importer samples.
The FDA is notifying importers that are interested in the program, the VQIP application portal will open on January 1, 2021, and will remain open through May 31, 2021. For more information and assistance with the program, the FDA has provided the following resources:
- Submission of VQIP Application User Guide
- VQIP Informational Webinar Recording
- Public Registry of Accredited Third-Party Certification Bodies
Those interested in the program may submit questions to the VQIP Importers Help Desk via 301-796-8745 or email FSMAVQIP@da.hhs.gov.
For any questions related to the VQIP program and assistance with the application process, please email mdi Consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org RE: VQIP.