Here’s what you need to know about FDA’s new FSMA requirement on Bioterrorism Act registrations. Owners, operators, or agents in charge of domestic or foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for consumption in the U.S. are required to register the facility with the FDA.
The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) has for the first time, specifically put the onus on importers to have a program to verify that the food products they are bringing into this country are safe. The idea behind FSMA is to change FDA regulatory enforcement and focus to more of a preventative approach, instead of reactionary. These new requirements include risk-based controls, foreign supplier verification program, certification, and audits. A brief overview of the requirements may be found here.
I’ve summarized the requirements relevant to your Bioterrorism Act Registration below, so you can be sure your registration doesn’t lapse. If your not re-registered by December 2012, FDA will cancel your Bioterrorism Act registration and your importations will be delayed.
New Biennial Registration Requirements
FSMA amended the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) Section 415 to provide for biennial registration updates. Facilities which are required to register will have to re-register every 2 years, during the period beginning on October 1 (in this case, October 22) and ending on December 31 in even numbered years. This will first occur in October-December 2012.
Note that even facilities which are already registered with the FDA are still required to renew their registrations during the October 22– December 2012 registration renewal period.
FDA requires that foreign facilities have a U.S. agent. The U.S. agent must:
- live or maintain a place of business in the U.S. and
- be physically present in the U.S.
The U.S. Agent is also responsible for the payment of "reinspection fees" of foreign facilities and failure to comply with recall orders. Reinspections are follow-up inspections conducted by the FDA after a previous inspection by the FDA where the FDA identified non-compliance issues materially related to food safety. The purpose of the reinspection is to assure the issue has been remedied and food is now safely produced. Fees are adjusted each fiscal year. For FY 2013 (October 1, 2012-September 30, 2013), the fees are steep, at $221 an hour if no foreign travel is required, and $289 an hour if foreign travel is required.
Need a U.S. Agent?
The law firm Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. provides registration services and will act as a U.S. agent with the FDA for a nominal fee, but, the foreign facilities are always responsible for the payment of any reinspection fee or fee for a failure to comply with a recall order. Please visit www.FDA-USA.com for more information about how to make Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. your U.S. agent with the FDA.