Photo by U.S. Food and Drug Administration
On July 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published proposed rules and draft guidelines for a voluntary, fee-based program for the expedited review and importation of foods into the United States. The Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) would provide importers a means of having expedited entry for imported foods. The authority for establishing VQIP derives from the 2011 law, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
The proposal describes how user fees to fund the process of accrediting third-party auditors and certification bodies would be established. The draft guidance document outlines VQIP provisions, including what benefits importers who participate in the program would receive, eligibility criteria, how to complete an application for becoming a qualified importer, what conditions could result in a revocation of that status, and how an importer could be reinstated after having qualified status revoked.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed rule and draft guidelines for 75 days. Development of the final rules and guidelines will follow the closing of the comment period.