Tuesday, August 21, 2012 by Lee Mannering
FSMA update: Congressional report outlines progress, milestones
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration submitted to Congress the second Annual Report on Food Facilities, Food Imports, and FDA Foreign Offices, which outlines the progress made to date by FDA on various Food Safety Modernization Act requirements. It’s a fairly brief report (which you can access here) but what I found interesting was the section on imports. Since we’re in an industry where imports play a key role, I thought I’d share those highlights below:
- FDA physically examined (conducted field exams or analyzed samples) 243,400 food and feed import lines in FY 2011.
- The total number of food import lines for FY 2011 was 10,439,236. FDA physically examined 2.3 percent, or 243,400, of the food import lines. The report noted that FDA electronically screens all import entries using an automated system to help field inspectors determine which products pose the greatest risk and should be physically examined. The agency’s Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting (PREDICT) system uses data analytics from the entire life cycle of a product to better identify and target high-risk products before they enter the country.
- The average cost of physically inspecting or sampling a line of food subject to the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act that is imported or offered for import into the U.S. is approximately $170 per field exam and approximately $2,800 per sample analyzed.
It will be interesting to see how FDA moves forward in implementing the FSMA, especially the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program which would help expedite fruit and vegetable shipments at border crossings; however, program establishment and issuing of guidance has yet occur. We offered extensive comments to FDA on import issues last year.