Benefits of Participating in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VPIQ)

As with any program, understanding its benefits can help you determine if it’s a good fit for your company.  Detailed below are some of the benefits highlighted by the U.S. FDA

Expedited Entry Process

FDA will expedite import entry into the United States for all foods included in an approved VQIP application.  FDA will use its Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting (PREDICT) import screening tool to recognize shipments of food that are part of an approved VQIP application. The screening tool will be programmed to recognize and, in most cases, immediately release the shipment, unless examination and sampling are necessary for the public health reasons listed below.

Limited Examination and Sampling

FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of VQIP food entries to the following situations:  (1) “for cause” situations (i.e., investigation of an outbreak or illness) ; (2) to obtain statistically necessary risk-based microbiological samples (when building a product risk profile based on non-biased surveillance sampling); and (3) to audit a small percentage of import shipments covered by VQIP to verify that products declared in a VQIP entry are consistent with products covered in the VQIP application.\

FDA Sampling at Preferred Location

When FDA needs to examine an entry covered by VQIP, FDA will attempt, to the extent possible, to examine an import entry and collect samples at the VQIP food destination or other location preferred by the VQIP importer.  If import entry to the U.S. is denied, FDA will assist in fulfilling an importer’s request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to export the refused products from the port preferred by the importer.

Faster Lab Results

In the event FDA collects a sample of a VQIP food import entry, FDA’s laboratories will prioritize processing of VQIP samples.

Help Desk 

FDA will maintain a VQIP Importers Help Desk connecting importers to FDA staff dedicated to responding to questions and helping to resolve concerns. Contact the help desk at FSMAVQIP@fda.hhs.gov, or 1- 301-796-8745.

 

Key Points to Note: 

The application period 1st round ends 7/31/19. The 2nd Round Opens 1/1/20 and ends 5/31/20.

When applying for the VQIP Program you (The Primary applicant) can list related or associated/affiliated firms as additional FSVP Importers on the Application. These importers will also enjoy the benefits of VQIP when listed as the FSVP Importer on any Customs/FDA regulated Entry. The VQIP Importer must also be listed on the entry in the affirmation of compliance field, but like the FSVP Importer does not have to be the actual Importer of Record on the Entry.

Please see your All-Ways representative for additional information as well the below link for more details on the FDA’s VQIP Program.

www.fda.gov/food/importing-food-products-united-states/voluntary-qualified-importer-program-vqip

 

Source: Food & Drug Administration

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