VQIP - Expedite US entry program for foreign suppliers
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The FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) enables participating foreign suppliers to get expedited entry for their food products into the United States.
VQIP is part of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) which is designed to prevent foodborne illnesses in the US. FSMA is applicable to a broad category of products and companies from those who manufacture, process, pack or store food to importers, agents and representatives of foreign companies bringing food for human or animal consumption into the US market.
VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program that provides an expedite review and import entry of human and animal foods to the United States. VQIP is regulated by FSMA’s (Food Safety Modernization Act) Third-Party Program (TPP) rules. An audit from a third party accredited under the TTP rule is necessary to be able to show a certificate attesting compliance.
What is the VQIP scheme
The Expedited USA Entry Program for Foreign Suppliers ensures seamless entry of products into the US. Every importer of products to the US must be registered as an FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program) importer or HACCP importer. The latter is applicable to a few product types only.
The FSVP importer must perform verification activities of its foreign suppliers. If adhering to the VQIP program, verification is done by an accredited certification body such as DNV, the product in scope is given a fast-track entry into the US.
VQIP certification is done against a third-party scheme. DNV has developed its own scheme under the TTP rules, ensuring compliance with the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and other FDA applicable regulations. DNV is accredited under these TPP rules.
Benefits of becoming certified
Having an approved VQIP application and certification means:
- Quicker and easier entry to the US market for your products.
- Limited examination and sampling
- FDA sampling at preferred location
- Faster lab results
- Help-desk access
Seamless entry of your product into the United States will benefit both foreign suppliers, US importers and consumers. For example:
- US importers
- Assurance that their foreign suppliers comply with FSMA rules, avoiding the need to further assess the suppliers
- Expedited entry of the products in the United States, potentially saving time and cost waiting for testing/inspection results before release at the port of entry
- Foreign suppliers
- Reduces added work of proving your FSMA compliance status to customers
- Opens doors to new customers by being able to differentiate against non-certified competitors
Certification requires compliance to the DNV scheme developed under the TTP rules. To prepare for the certification audit, a GAP Analysis can be very helpful to gauge your company’s level of preparedness towards the full audit. We can support with training for your employees, as well, to help ensure a smoother certification journey.
Under the expedited USA Entry Program for Foreign Suppliers, DNV can help whether you are a non-US supplier or if you want to manage your own suppliers.
DNV is a global company, working in many parts of the world, and can support foreign suppliers in their locations and work with US importers. This includes certification and other services related to the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
For more information visit the FDA website here.