FDA recognizes Canada’s food safety system as comparable to U.S.

  • As previously covered on this blog, FDA has issued a final rule to implement its Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Some importers are exempt from the FSVP requirements or are subject to modified requirements, depending on specific factual circumstances.  For instance, the rule excludes from most of the standard FSVP requirements (including the hazard analysis and verification requirements) certain food from a foreign supplier in a country whose food safety system FDA has officially recognized as comparable or determined to be equivalent to that of the United States.
  • FDA has now officially signed an arrangement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada by which each country recognized the other’s food safety systems as comparable to each other.  Canada thus becomes only the second food safety system that FDA has recognized as comparable, following New Zealand’s recognition in 2012.  Reportedly, Australia and the European Commission are in process to achieve similar recognition.
  • The exclusion above is beneficial to importers, as it will help alleviate the FSVP compliance burden for foods being imported from recognized countries.  In order for the exclusion above to apply, the foreign supplier must be within the regulatory oversight and in compliance with the foreign country’s food safety system.  In addition, the importer must continually monitor the foreign supplier to ensure it remains in good standing with the food safety authority of the country in which the foreign supplier is located.  The general compliance date for the FSVP provisions is May 29, 2017.