On Monday, President Obama signed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) into law. TPA, also known as the “fast track” bill, was seen as a crucial component in solidifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Although the re-authorization of TPA grants the President greater authority in his ability to negotiate and secure a trade deal–thus speeding up the TPP negotiation process–the TPP still has some tough negotiations ahead. However, the new authority Congress granted the President will now give him the power needed to ultimately conclude negotiations on the TPP.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years and was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. FSMA requires FDA to establish a voluntary, fee-based program, named the “Voluntary Qualified Importer Program” (VQIP) which promises expedited review and importation of foods from importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.
On June 4th, 2015 the FDA published a draft version of “Guidance for Industry: FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)”. According to FDA’s website, VQIP will also benefit consumers by enabling the FDA to focus its resources on high risk foods, further protecting consumers from the potential health hazards associated with those foods. In order for a food importer to be eligible for the VQIP program, the importer should:
- Have at least a 3 year history of importing foods
- Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number
- Use a paperless filer/broker who received a passing rating during their last FDA evaluation
- Import food that is not subject to an import alert or Class 1 recall
- Not be, nor any non-applicant entity associated with the VQIP food be, subject to an FDA administrative or judicial action, have a history of significant non-compliance with food safety, or […]