Qualified Individuals – FDA’s Final Link in the Chain of Food Safety and Food Imports
The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011, includes an important provision for food importers under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Final Rule. Namely, Part 1 Subpart L, Section §1.503 requires that importers of human and animal food enlist a Qualified Individual (QI) who has responsibility for developing a program and performing each activity under the program to ensure that the products that they are importing are not adulterated or misbranded (in regards to allergens) and have been produced in accordance with the preventive control regulations for human or animal food (CFR §117 & 507 respectfully), or the Produce Safety Rule (CFR §112).
Companies importing finished food and food ingredients for further processing into the U.S. must have a QI, either an employee or someone contracted to perform QI duties. This FSVP QI looks at each supplier closely and determines whether the foods or food ingredients they produce meet FDA’s strict safety requirements by assessing the supplier’s food safety plans and determining whether adequate controls are in place that would reduce or minimize harm due to biological, chemical and physical hazards. The QI would also have to identify verification activities that would ensure that the hazards are being addressed. Based on the type of activity identified, the importer may also have to enlist a Qualified Auditor (QA) to perform this function.
Everyone with a role in the importation of foreign sourced foods should be familiar with applicable FSVP requirements including brokers ,exporting shippers, foreign suppliers, and others. This comprehensive approach can help better protect food safety.
Join EAS Independent Advisor for FSMA and former FDA Seattle District Officer, Charles Breen and EAS Independent Advisor for Import Operations and former Director of the FDA’s Division of Import Operations, Domenic Veneziano, for an informative and fast-paced webinar on understanding the requirements of an FDA Qualified Individual and Auditor.