What is the FSVP Rule?

The Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) was created on November 27, 2015, as “a significant provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)”. The FSVP “shifts the burden of certifying the safety of food imports from [the] FDA to the importers themselves”. This means that importers must set up a program that verifies that both the foreign supplier of the food and the food itself will comply with United States (U.S.) laws.

What is Required of the Importer?

For the FSVP to be satisfied, an importer must:

  • “Determine known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food;
  • Evaluate the risks posed by a food, based on the hazard analysis, and the foreign supplier’s performance;
  • Use the evaluation of the risk posed by an imported food and supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities;
  • Conduct supplier verification activities;
  • Conduct corrective actions.”

The first compliance date for importers subject to the FSVP rule is May 30, 2017.

Our previous blog: FSMA: STAY COMPLIANT WITH DTL’S ‘PICTURE’! goes into greater detail about what is required for an importer to be compliant for FSMA.

The Unique Facility Identifier:

For each line entry of food product offered for importation into the United States, the FSVP importer must provide its Unique Facility Identifier (UFI) recognized as acceptable by FDA. In addition, the final rule requires that for each line entry of food product offered for importation into the United States, the FSVP importer must also provide the importer’s name and electronic mail address.

The identification of importers is extremely important to the FDA and allows the FDA to “effectively implement, monitor compliance with, and enforce the FSVP requirements, which are designed to help ensure that imported foods meet U.S. safety standards”. As of March 31, 2017, the FDA now formally recognizes the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as an acceptable UFI. Along with now being able to provide the DUNS number as a UFI, the importer must also provide “its legal business name, electronic mailing address, and UFI recognized as acceptable by the FDA for each line of food product offered for importation into the [U.S.]”.

What is the DUNS number?

Dun and Bradstreet assign “a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses.” This number sets up a business credit file, which is required by the U.S. Government “for contracts or grants”. The DUNS number is free for importers.

If you import food products, you must have a plan in place to comply with FDA’s FSMA, including FSMA! Diaz Trade Law would be pleased to assist you in complying with FDA, FSMA, and FSVP regulations and requirements. Contact us at info@diaztradelaw.com.