The Food Safety Modernization Act Voluntary Qualified Importer Program is a voluntary for fee based program that will allow the expedited review imported foods into the U.
Datelines for the US FSMA Voluntary Qualified Importer Program
1 - US FDA, Fact Sheet on the Draft Guidance for Industry for FDA's Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (http://www.
2 - Federal Register, Draft Guidance for Industry on the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program for Food Importers and Guidelines in Consideration of the Burden of the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program Fee Amounts on Small Business, Notice by the FDA (https://www.
FDA has issued draft guidance to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Voluntary Qualified Importer Program
53) The certification process is also intended for use by importers who wish to participate in the voluntary qualified importer program, which requires facility certification as a condition of eligibility.
For instance, in public comments to the FDA, the European Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate-General declared the European Union's strong commitment to food safety but expressed concerns over the implementation of FSMA provisions, including the foreign supplier verification program, the voluntary qualified importer program, and import certification requirements for high-risk foods.
169) These Codex Alimentarius guidelines appear to support the general concept embodied in the FSMA's voluntary qualified importer program.
The Secretary's broad discretion and the involvement of Homeland Security in the voluntary qualified importer program may risk violating the SPS Agreement's prohibition against the use of arbitrary or unjustifiable SPS measures to discriminate between WTO members and its requirement that members make their SPS measures transparent.
The new law grants FDA the authority to impose fees for re-inspections (where a facility failed an initial inspection), failure to comply with recall orders, and on facilities participating in the voluntary qualified importer program
Authority to Collect and Use Fees: FDA will have authority to collect fees for (1) re-inspection of facilities found in non-compliance, (2) recall expenses incurred by FDA if a facility refuses to conduct a mandatory recall, (3) costs associated with a voluntary qualified importer program (see below), (4) re-inspection of imported food, and (5) export certificates for food.
Inspection of imported food will be based on risk profile, considering the type of food, its origin, history of the importer, rigor of the importer's foreign supplier verification, whether the importer participates in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, and whether the food is imported and certified.