FDA Changes, Holiday Schedule

FDA making BIG Changes

The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law on January 4, 2011. This new legislation gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new mandates and tools to make substantial improvements to food safety.

The major elements of the law are:

·         Preventive controls – For the first time, FDA has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, prevention-based controls across the food supply.

·         Inspection and Compliance – The law specifies how often the FDA should inspect food producers.

·         Imported Food Safety – The FDA will require importers to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate preventive controls in place to ensure safety, and FDA will be able to accredit qualified third party auditors to certify that foreign food facilities are complying with U.S. food safety standards.

·         Response – FDA will have mandatory recall authority for all food products.

What will this mean for the importing community?
For the first time, importers will be specifically required to have a program to verify that the food products they are bringing into this country are safe. Among other things, importers will need to verify that their suppliers are in compliance with reasonably appropriate risk-based preventive controls that provide the same level of public health protection as those required under FSMA.

All food facilities that are required to register now will need to submit a biennial renewal registration. However, an abbreviated registration process will be available for firms that are already registered and whose registration information has not changed.

When the foreign supplier verification program’s requirements take effect, they will apply to all importers and all foods unless there is an exemption.

Who is exempt?
Any facility whose owner, operator or agent in charge is subject to, and in compliance with FDA’s seafood, juice or low-acid canned food products requirements. There is also an exemption for food imported in small qualities for research and evaluation purposes, provided the food is not intended for retail sale.

The FDA will establish a voluntary, user-fee funded Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) to expedite entry into the U.S. of imported food from eligible, qualified importers. To be eligible, an importer must offer food for importation from a facility that has a certification by an accredited third party. Participation will also be based on risk considerations.

When will these new regulations and procedures go into effect?
This is a long term process that requires FDA to prepare and issue new regulations and guidance documents. The FDA states it is committed to implementing the requirements through an open process with opportunity for input from all stakeholders. Also, the funding that the FDA is allocated by Congress will be a factor in the way that the agency handles the implementation of this legislation.

For more detailed information on all the major elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, please refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website at:

We are open 365 days of the year, just for you

If your airfreight shipment must be cleared through Customs on a day when the rest of the country is sleeping in, barbequing, opening presents and/or enjoying fireworks, that is o.k. We understand the importance of getting your perishables cleared whenever and wherever. Here is a list of those Holidays along with our nominal fees. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you!

·         May 30, 2011, Monday, Memorial Day – $45

·         July 4, 2011, Monday, Independence Day – $45

·         September 5, 2011, Monday, Labor Day – $45

·         November 24, 2011, Thursday, Thanksgiving Day – $100

·         December 24, 2011, Saturday, Christmas Eve – $100

·         December 25, 2011, Sunday, Christmas Day – $150

·         December 31, 2011, Saturday, New Year’s Eve – $100

·         January 1, 2012, Sunday, New Year’s Day – $150

·         February 20, 2012, Monday , President’s Day – $45