Attention food importers: Major changes to FSVP beginning May 27th. Are you ready?

FSVP Importers and CBP importers have new rules to follow beginning May 27, 2017.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) contains a requirement that Food Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) begins on May 27, 2017, and importers will need to provide additional data elements to file entries for release with CBP and FDA.

There are many new acronyms. What is FSVP?

FSVP is flexible, risk-based program to verify foreign suppliers and the safety of the food they produce. The FSVP will require two key things:

  • Identification of the FSVP importer for foods imported into the United States.
  • The FSVP importer (defined below) is responsible for verifying that the foreign suppliers are using safe processes and procedures. The food must also not be adulterated or misbranded.

Is the FSVP importer different from the CBP Importer of Record?

This is a great question, and in most cases, the parties might be the same. The party must have, in the words of the legislation, “direct financial interest in the food product.” If you have any question as to whether or not you believe you are both the CBP Importer of Record and the FSVP importer, contact us for a determination.

A simple rule of thumb is: If the CBP Importer of Record is the US owner or consignee, they are by definition the FSVP importer.

What is used to identify the FSVP importer?

As the Customs broker preparing your entry, this additional requirement will add time to enter and process the shipment. Additionally, three key pieces of information we require are the FSVP importer’s contact information, DUNS number and food facility registration number.

How can and should an importer verify the FSVP party?

The regulations allow for a great deal of flexibility in this interpretation. FDA allows the US importer to establish an internal program using a “qualified individual” to verify suppliers, or they can rely on third party verifiers. If your company is looking to setup or outsource this step of the process, we are happy to help you accomplish this important compliance goal.

Are any kinds of food product exempt from the FSVP requirement?

Yes. The parties will need to be identified at the time we file the Customs entry, but the verification processes are far less rigorous. A short list of exempted commodities include:

  • Juice under HACCP.
  • Seafood
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Products of Canada and New Zealand have less restrictive requirements as their food safety systems are considered comparable to the United States.

Can I read more about this?

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a deep dive into federal regulations, by all means we encourage to to take time and read it end to end.

Here is a quick FAQ prepared by FDA that lays it out in simple terms.

Here is the final rule including a link to the Federal Register publication.

We’re here to help.

As always, this is never something an importer should feel like they have to tackle alone. As a Customs broker with a deep practice filing entries on many kinds of food, we are aware of the regulations and how importers can navigate them safely. For more information or a consultation contact us today.