FDA Issues Drafted Guidance on Fee-based, Voluntary Qualified Importer Program

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published draft guidance in the Federal Register this week for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) for food importers—a fee-based expedited review of food importation for those who agree to participate and then qualify.

To participate, importers must submit an application and obtain an accredited third-party facility certification. Eligibility requirements include a three-year track record of imported food to the United States, a passing rate on the FDA Filer Evaluation, no import alerts or Class 1 recalls, compliance with the Food Supplier Verification Program, facility certification, and more.

According to the FDA, “Expedited entry incentivizes importers to adopt a robust system of supply chain management and further benefits public health by allowing FDA to focus its resources on food entries that pose a higher risk to public health.”

Review the drafted guidance. The FDA is accepting public comments for the next 75 days. The program is expected to be finalized and open for applications in January 2018 to allow foreign facilities to earn an FDA-accredited third-party certification.

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