The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4, established a framework for a robust approach to ensuring the safety of food imported into the U.S.

“In two years, food processors and manufacturers will be required to verify that any imported ingredients or products are produced in compliance with U.S. laws and regulations,” says David Acheson, managing director, food and import safety, Leavitt Partners, Washington, in discussing the import aspect of the FSMA. “As a result, companies will need to have new systems and processes in place to ensure they are sourcing ingredients and products from suppliers that meet U.S. requirements.”

Under Section 301 of the act, companies importing foods or food ingredients will be required to put into place a foreign supplier verification program to confirm the foods they import are produced in accordance with U.S. food laws, including the preventive measures newly required under the FSMA. The act requires the Food and Drug Administration to issue not less than one year after enactment guidance to assist importers in developing foreign supplier verification programs. Companies must have the programs in place and operating within two years of enactment.

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