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FDA Expedited Review Programme Application Period Extended

The Food and Drug Administration is extending through 31 July the deadline for applying to participate in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program for the fiscal year 2020 benefit period, which will begin on 1 October.

VQIP is a voluntary fee-based programme that provides expedited review and importation of human and animal foods for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. To participate, importers must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include ensuring that the facilities of their foreign supplier are certified under the accredited third-party certification programme. Four certification bodies have been accredited so far.

The FDA has said importers submitting VQIP applications should have at least a three-year history of importing food into the United States and be in compliance with supplier verification and other responsibilities under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and the juice and/or seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points regulations, if required. However, VQIP requires that importers go one step further to establish additional controls over their supply chains; e.g., creating quality assurance programmes, which include written policies and procedures regarding safety and security and show compliance with criteria related to transportation and food defence.

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