For more information on these and other Food and Drug Administration issues, please contact Domenic Veneziano at (202) 734-3939.
Foreign Supplier Program Violation
The FDA continues to issue warning letters to importers concerning noncompliance with requirements under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, which requires importers to perform certain risk-based activities to verify that the human and/or animal food they import has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. food safety standards.
Most recently, FDA inspections of the facilities of one importer found that it failed to do the following respect to imported honey beans and melon seeds.
- develop, maintain, and follow an FSVP
- conduct a hazard analysis
- document its approval of its foreign supplier
- establish and follow written procedures to ensure it imports foods only from foreign suppliers approved on the basis of an evaluation of their performance and the risk posed by the food
- establish and follow written adequate procedures ensuring that foreign supplier verification activities are conducted for imported foods
- conduct and document one or more of the specified supplier verification activities for each foreign supplier
The FDA states that within 15 working days the importer should provide information on the specific things it is doing to correct these violations; e.g., documentation of changes made and records to demonstrate implementation of an FSVP. If the importer does not act promptly the FDA may take further action, such as refusing admission of violative products and subjecting the importer to detention without physical examination.
FDA import alerts affecting the following have been newly issued or modified in the past week.
- cilantro from Mexico
- dietary supplements from India
- drugs from China
- eye makeup from China and Korea
- face paint markers from Canada
- gauze/sponge from China and Mexico
- green onions from Mexico
- laser engraving and cutting machines from China
- moisturizing lotion from Canada
- nuts and seeds from Jordan
- skin care preparations from Peru
- soap from Morocco
- soft ripened pico cheese from Portugal
Importers of FDA-regulated goods are responsible for ensuring that such imports are in compliance with FDA laws and regulations. Before shipping into the U.S., importers should be aware of whether or not their product is listed on an import alert.
Import alerts inform FDA field staff that the agency has enough evidence or other information to allow a product that appears to be in violation of FDA laws and regulations to be detained without physical examination at the time of entry. Import alerts may cover products from designated countries or areas (including from all foreign countries), manufacturers, or shippers.
Firms and/or products on the “red list” of an import alert are subject to DWPE, while firms and/or products on the “green list” are not because they have met the criteria for exclusion. Some import alerts include a “yellow list” of firms, products, and/or countries subject to intensified surveillance because the nature of the violations may warrant further field examinations of individual entries and/or additional analyses. In addition, depending on the specific import alert, shipments of products subject to DWPE may still be imported into the U.S. if the importer has demonstrated that the shipment is in compliance.
If a product is detained without physical examination the importer has the right to provide evidence to the FDA in an attempt to overcome the appearance of the violation. If no such evidence is submitted, or if the evidence provided is insufficient, the product will be subject to refusal of entry into the U.S.
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