The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has submitted a statement to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending that the agency make several changes to its draft guidance to better inform importers on how they may comply with the import rules established under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The statement covers FDA’s draft guidance for industry titled, “Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals.” The guidance, when finalized, is intended to provide the agency’s thinking on how importers of human food or animal feed can comply with the regulation on foreign supplier verification programs (FSVP).
NGFA’s statement also included recommendations on certain FSVP issues that, if implemented, would result in meaningful reduction in regulatory burdens and costs on the regulated industry, while still enabling FDA to fulfill its public health mission and statutory obligations under FSMA.
Among the recommendations made by the NGFA were that FDA should:
- Provide a more proactive system to inform entities when they have been named as the importer for purposes of the rule to avoid inaccurate or false designations that would create potential compliance obligations.
- Designate pulse raw agricultural commodities (e.g., dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans) as “grain,” so that the agency’s previously announced enforcement discretion for certain importers of grain raw agricultural commodities intended for further processing would be appropriately extended to such commodities.
- Clarify that the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion for animal food contact surfaces with regard to FSVP requirements.
- Limit the scope of potential economically motivated adulteration hazards that importers need to consider to those for which there has been a pattern of economic adulteration in the past.
- Update its website to provide clearer and more concise information pertaining to countries the agency recognizes as having a food safety system that is comparable or equivalent to that of the United States.