Produce Industry Takes Exception To Foreign Supplier Rule In FSMA

The United Fresh Produce Association thinks the importer’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) should be limited to the direct supplier, not the supplier’s suppliers.


The United Fresh Produce Association, using information gathered from what they termed a diverse expert working group from numerous member companies throughout the fresh produce supply chain of the Food Safety and Modernization Act,  submitted their comments to the FDA this week, taking exception to the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals (Foreign Supplier Verification Rule) in particular.

The working groups spent 10 months reviewing the proposed rules according to this story at Southeastfarmpress.com.

“From the beginning of our work to pass food safety legislation, we’ve advocated for a level playing field for foreign and domestic producers,” said Dr. David Gombas, United senior vice president of food safety and technology. “It’s critical that FDA establishes food safety requirements that keep consumers safe and that all suppliers meet, no matter what their geographic location or size.”

In its comments on the Foreign Supplier Verification Rule, the association raises several key issues over the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), saying it should be limited to the direct supplier, not the supplier’s suppliers. The association also is proposing that foreign suppliers follow the same requirements as domestic suppliers and importers’ requirements should be the same, regardless of the importer’s or foreign supplier’s size.

In the Produce Safety rule, FDA proposed to limit the risks covered in the rule to microbiological, not chemical or physical hazards.  However, in the Foreign Supplier Verification rule, FDA proposes to require importers to evaluate potential chemical and physical hazards in fresh produce exported to the United States.  This potentially requires foreign fresh produce growers to comply with food safety standards that exceed requirements of domestic operations, inviting a WTO challenge. 

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