Food & Beverages | Voluntary Qualified Importer Program
Under the FSMA FDA must create the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), which is a voluntary, fee-based program that offers its members an expedited importation process. An importer becomes eligible when FDA determines that the food offered for import is safe and the foreign facility obtains certification by third-party auditors (which verifies that the facility complies with the relevant regulations. Once admitted to the program, FDA reviews an importer's eligibility at least once every three years.
The program will offer a large importer an effective means to shorten the delays inherent with importing foods. The program will particularly assist an importer of perishable foods, because importation will take less time.