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Dairy Facts 2016

FDA Releases Guidance for Voluntary Qualified Importer Program

Nov 16, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration released on Friday its final guidance to industry for a voluntary, fee-based program to expedite the process for reviewing and importing foods from companies that have a proven track record of food safety and security and have been certified in accordance with FDA’s program for Accreditation of Third-Party Certification Bodies. FDA provided the final guidance in question-and-answer format to explain how the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) will work.

FDA said it will benefit both industry and consumers. Expedited entry will provide an incentive for importers to maintain a robust system of supply chain management and allow FDA to focus its resources on examining and sampling food imports that are more likely to present a potential risk to public health.

Under this program, FDA will recognize food shipments that are included in an approved VQIP application and, in most cases, will release the shipment immediately after receipt of entry information. “The program will limit examinations and sampling of VQIP food entries to situations where a potential public health threat exists or to obtain risk-based microbiological samples and to audit the program” said John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards.

For more information, contact Allan at

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