An estimated 15 million food shipments are expected to arrive at 300 U.S. ports of entry this year from up to 125,000 foreign facilities located in over 200 countries. In recent years, an upward trend in the volume and diversity of imported food shipments has created regulatory and food safety challenges. Addressing these challenges, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a new regulatory oversight strategy for ensuring the safety of imported foods.

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Questions about the role of industry standards for complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have existed since the law was enacted more than six years ago. Due to the upcoming requirements for foreign supplier verification, industry stakeholders are urging the FDA to extend the compliance date, and to clarify the role of private entities for supporting compliance with the new FSMA requirements for imported food.

The role of strategic partnerships for improving the safety of imported food was the focus of a two-day FDA public hearing held last week (February 14-15, 2017). The hearing followed public meetings held last year on imported food safety, which raised questions about the role of private certification schemes and third-party audits for supporting compliance with FSMA by foreign suppliers. Continue Reading

All domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or store food for sale in the United States must register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to recent government data, approximately 114,000 foreign food facilities exporting to the U.S. are located in more than 200 countries, and 19% of the American food supply is now imported.

The growing number of foreign food facilities and expanding volume of imported food is fueling an increasingly complex U.S. food supply chain. Imported food has been linked to several high-profile food safety events in recent years and remains a significant concern. In fact, one of the core objectives of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was to ensure the safety of imported food. Continue Reading