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Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)

It (VQIP) is a fee-based voluntary program that governs the activities of participating importers imports of human as well as animal foods in America. The benefit to importers is that they will experience greater speed while importing their products to the States while staying clear of import delays. Consumers benefit from the stringent management and safety of their supplies.

FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The federal agency is among the United States federal executive departments. It serves a purpose of promoting and protecting public health via supervision and control of food safety, veterinary products, animal feed, cosmetics, medical services, blood transfusions, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, dietary supplements, and tobacco products.

Eligibility to Participate in VQIP

  • A prior 3-year history of food importation to the United States. The past can get based on parent companies like those involved in a merger
  • You are in possession of a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number
  • The paperless brokers/ filers you use need to have acceptable results based on their previous FDA Filer Evaluation. The broker is responsible for- submitting entry and summary info of the food into the (ACS) Automated Commercial System and submission of import data to the International Trade Auxiliary Communication System (ITACS).
  • An Import alert will do a physical examination of food when you apply
  • In the previous three years, the food you intend to import has no relation to any forfeitures, sanctions or CBP penalties you faced.

DUNS Number

The company D&B provides a nine-digit ID number known as a DUNS number. The D&B once requested will give out a DUNS number based on the physical business location. You will get the number through an email to govt@dnb.com or 866-705-5711. Doing business with the United States government ensures you get a free DUNS number.

Benefits of VQIP

Doriliz De Leon and Amelia Tetterton who are FDA consumer safety officials outline the benefits of participating in the VQIP program.

According to Amelia, the American government will ensure that foods listed in the VQIP APPLICATION get imported quickly. Using PREDICT(Predictive Risk- based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting), a type of screening tool, imported foods will get assessed and should food be among the VQIP program, then it will get released without further sampling or examination. It will reduce the food delays during import process.

De Leon affirms that sampling VQIP foods will get limited to circumstances where possible risk to public health gets suspected. FDA with intent to further examiner the foods, will do it at the designated location by the importer or the VQIP food destination. The FDA will then expedite any lab sampling.

The Application Process

The steps entailed:

1. Go to the FDA Industry System website (www.access.fda.gov) and create an online account. The info will auto-populate into the VQIP application.

2. Submit a Notice of Intent between January 1 at midnight and Mya 31 at 11.59 pm to participate in VQIP. Then include the application to be a participant in VQIP in the next fiscal year that starts on October 1.

Info on the Application

The VQIP application has sections A-G.

Section A- Applicant and Firm Information

Section B- (FSVP) Foreign Supplier Verification Program and (HACCP) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Importer Information.

Section C- Quality Assurance Program

Section D- Filer/ Broker Info

Section E- Foreign Supplier Facilities and Foods.

Section F- Comments

Section G- Summary.

Section H- e-Signature

The VQIP application will be complete after accurately filling in the fields. You are also eligible to attach your QAP. At the FDA’s VQIP website you will get a VQIP resource and tutorial for the application completion.

 The Voluntary Qualified Importer Program seeks to enhance America’s food import system. Food imported based on the program get expedited unlike other food imports and thus ensures a continual and a more predicted supply between the supplier and consumer. For more details Visit, FDA website.

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