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 a company holding itself out as a very small importer found that the company did not have FSVPs with respect to imported hummus with tahini, halwa with pistachios, and sesame breadsticks. This importer also did not (1) obtain written assurance that its foreign supplier is producing the food in compliance with processes and procedures that provide at least the same level of public health protection as those required under U.S. law and (2) document any corrective actions taken after determining that a foreign supplier of food it imports does not produce the food consistent with the written assurance.
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.
Import Alerts: Cheese, Garlic, Seafood, Etc.
Food and Drug Administration import alerts affecting the following have been newly issued or modified in the past week.
- cheese from Italy
- celery from Canada
- eel from China
- fig jam, jelly, and preserves from Lebanon
- garlic from China
- mushrooms from China
- raw and cooked shrimp from India
- sesame seed from Paraguay
- sweet goods from Pakistan
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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