FDA Launches Online Applications for Third-Party Accreditation Body Recognition
The Food and Drug Administration has launched a website where organizations can apply to be recognized as a third-party accreditation body. Foreign governments and agencies or private third parties may apply to be recognized.
Accreditation bodies recognized by the FDA will have the ability to accredit third-party certification bodies, also known as third-party auditors. Certification bodies will conduct food safety audits of foreign food entities and may issue certifications of those entities and the human and animal foods they produce. Consultative audits are conducted to help foreign eligible entities prepare for a regulatory audit by determining if they are in compliance with applicable U.S. food safety requirements as well as industry standards and practices. Regulatory audits are conducted to determine if facilities are complying with applicable food safety requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations.
Certifications may be used to help establish eligibility for participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, which will offer expedited review and entry of food for eligible participants. The FDA anticipates starting to accept VQIP applications in 2018. In addition, the FDA can require certification as a condition of entry for imported food products in limited circumstances when specific, risk-based criteria are met to prevent a potentially harmful food from entering the U.S.