FSMA Resource Center

Qualified Importer

How does the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act affect Imported Foods?

Some of the requirements that will affect those that import foods, and the international companies that want to sell in the United States include:

Supplier Verification

The current version of bill requires importers to manage suppliers with supplier verification activities; importers will not be able to import without complying with this section.

Qualified Importer

Participation in a "Voluntary Qualified Importer Program" allows importers to qualify for expedited review. (Includes use of recognized Third Party Certification)

Import Certifications

The FDA may require certification for high-risk foods and refuse admission of foods without required certification. (Includes recognized Third Party Certification)


The FDA would be able to arrange with foreign governments to facilitate inspection of foreign facilities and refuse entry of food from a country that does not allow inspection by the United States.

Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors

The FDA will recognize accreditation bodies to certify that foreign food facilities comply with U.S. food safety standards. Third party certification may be used for the "Voluntary Qualified Importer Program" of fulfill import certification requirements.