DNV GL is now accredited by ANSI to issue third party certificates for foreign suppliers under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.
Companies affected by food spoilage and lost revenue due to products being held up in customs will benefit from DNV GL’s approval by ANSI to The US Food and Drug Administration’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). With the accreditation, DNV GL can now start delivering third party certification to support exporters and importers.
Supply chain predictability is improved by certification due to the lowered risk of having products blocked by US customs at the border. The FDA screens approximately $49 billion of imported foods annually and is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the US food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome, and properly labelled.
According to the first figures issued after the 2011 FSMA regulations were introduced, the FDA physically examined approximately 1.9 percent or 207,839, of food import lines and that’s why a robust risk-based system is key and should be implemented by food importers to speed up screening activities by FDA.
“DNV GL’s approval to The US Food and Drug Administration’s third-party certification program supporting the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) is a major step forward for us,” says Stefano Crea, Global Market and Industry Director, DNV GL-Business Assurance. “With highly skilled food safety auditors internationally, combined with our digital tools and food industry and supply chain domain knowledge, we are ready and well prepared to serve customers globally. We believe this program is a fundamental element to support the objectives of FSMA, the FDA and US consumers.”
Certification facilitates fast-track entry
Foreign suppliers to the US can benefit from food safety audits and food and facility certification by DNV GL, who is 1 of 10 accredited certification bodies.
The certifications issued to foreign suppliers can consequently be used by importers to establish eligibility for participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), which offers expedited review of food entering the U.S.
The FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of VQIP food entries to few specific cases (e.g. investigation of an outbreak or illness). However, when FDA needs to examine an entry covered by VQIP, the organization will attempt, to the extent possible, to examine an import entry and collect samples at the VQIP food destination or other location preferred by the VQIP importer.
In the event the FDA collects a sample of a VQIP food import entry, FDA’s laboratories will prioritize processing of VQIP samples. The FDA will maintain a VQIP Importers Help Desk connecting importers to FDA staff dedicated to responding to questions and helping to resolve concerns.