Expedited Import Program for Foods Has May 31 Application Deadline

Importers have until midnight May 31 to apply to participate in the Food and Drug Administration’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program for fiscal year 2023.

VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program that provides faster review and importation of human and animal foods for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. To participate, importers must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include ensuring that the facilities of their foreign suppliers are certified under the accredited third-party certification program.

Qualified importers must submit a notice of intent to participate and a completed application. Notices of intent must be resubmitted each year. Once approved, importers must pay an annual fee.

Preparing and submitting VQIP applications can be a time-consuming process. Importers must have at least a three-year history of importing food into the U.S. and be in compliance with supplier verification and other responsibilities under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and the juice and/or seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points regulations, if required. However, VQIP requires that importers go one step further to establish additional controls over their supply chains; e.g., creating quality assurance programs, which include written policies and procedures regarding safety and security and show compliance with criteria related to transportation and food defense.

For more information on, or assistance with, the VQIP application process, please contact FDA consultant Domenic Veneziano at (202) 734-3939.

This article was originally published in the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report on May 11, 2022.

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