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In a significant FSMA milestone, May 30, 2017 was the initial deadline for U.S. food importers to implement a foreign supplier verification program (FSVP).

Beginning May 30, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system is requiring filers to enter at least one additional code for their food shipments, noted Sharon Mayl, Senior Advisor for Policy in the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, in an interview posted on the agency’s website just days ahead of the deadline.

Importers covered by the deadline should enter the code “FSV” to indicate that the entry is subject to the FSVP regulation. When it sees that code, ACE will ask for the importer’s name, email address, and unique facility identifier (UFI) – and FDA has formally recognized the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) for this purpose.

If a food is exempt or not yet subject to the FSVP, the filer should enter “FSX,” to indicate that the food is exempt from FSVP or that compliance with FSVP is not yet required — or “RNE,” to indicate that the food is exempt because it will be used for research or evaluation.

For a limited time, Mayl said, importers can enter “UNK” – indicating unknown — for the DUNS number if they don’t have one. But this option is temporary and they will need to get a DUNS number to come into full compliance. Importers without DUNS numbers should use this link to obtain a free DUNS number: fdadunslookup.com.

FSVP verification by importers should be based on an evaluation of the risk of the food and the supplier’s performance, so verification could include a review of the supplier’s food safety records, sampling and testing, as well as onsite auditing.

FSVP compliance dates are based on the size of the foreign supplier and the regulations that apply to the supplier. Importers generally must comply six months after their foreign supplier must be in compliance with the FSMA preventive controls or produce safety rules.

For companies unsure of whether they are covered by the FSVP, the agency has created a useful chart titled Am I Subject to FSVP?

Posted in Foods, FSMA Perspective and tagged .