What is VQIP?
VQIP – the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program – is a designation developed by the FDA to help food producers importing their goods into the United States expedite the process of reviewing and approving those goods. With the implementation of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) in 2015, the safety of imported foods became a key issue through the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). Every importer of goods into the United States is now required to conduct risk-based verification of foreign suppliers within the bounds of FSMA.
After meeting eligibility criteria and paying a user fee to the FDA, importers can seek VQIP status through an accredited certification body – such as PJRFSI.
What are the Benefits of VQIP?
- Avoid import delays at ports of entry
- Demonstrate to buyers commitment to quality and safety
- Expedite review process for product entry
- FDA sampling at a preferred location
- Dedicated help desk to respond to questions and concerns
What are the Criteria to Participate in VQIP?
Importers must satisfy a list of requirements available at FDA.gov, including (but not limited to):
- A minimum 3-year history of importing food to the United States
- A valid DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number
- No US Customs & Border Protection penalties, forfeitures, or sanctions within 3 years for the product to be certified
- A current facility certification for each foreign supplier of the food intended to be imported under VQIP