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FDA Now Accepting Applications for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)

FDA Now Accepting Applications for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)

VQIP is a voluntary program in which food importers may participate to expedite release of their human or animal food shipments. FDA will not examine or sample shipments that are imported under VQIP unless warranted by public health reasons or for auditing purposes. FDA began accepting VQIP applications on October 1, 2018 and indicates they will review about 200 applications for the Fiscal Year 2020.

To participate in VQIP, an importer must submit an application to FDA and must:

  • Have at least a 3-year history of importing food into the United States.
  • Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. DUNS numbers are issued by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and can be obtained at: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html.
  • Use a filer/broker that passed its most recent FDA filer evaluation.
  • Not import any foods listed on the Red List of any FDA Import Alert at the time of the VQIP application.
  • Not import any foods subject to a class 1 recall in effect at the time of the VQIP application.
  • Have a compliant history related to food safety and ensure that all applicable entities associated with the VQIP foods e.g. supplier, filer/broker etc. also have compliant histories related to food safety.
  • Have each foreign supplier of their VQIP foods certified in accordance to FDA’s Accredited Third-Party Certification program.
  • Submit to FDA a written Quality Assurance Program (QAP) for their VQIP.
  • Not have been subject to Customs regulatory action i.e. penalties, forfeitures, or sanctions related to food safety within the past 3 years.
  • Pay an annual user fee to FDA which FDA currently estimates to be about 16,400.00 USD/year.

According to FDA, once an importer is enrolled in the VQIP, FDA’s electronic entry screening system will release most shipments of the importer’s VQIP foods immediately after receiving the entry data from the Customs broker/filer.

Contact FDA Specialist today to find out how we can assist you in successfully applying for the VQIP!

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Richard Chiang worked for the FDA for 13 years beginning as a field investigator and entry reviewer and later worked at the FDA’s headquarters Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)

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