"U.S. importers of fresh produce overseas can expect increased scrutiny and audits"

In 2019 U.S. importers of fresh produce from overseas can expect increased scrutiny and audits by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) of their compliance with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Center for Export and Investment in the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD) and the USDA funded Exporting Quality Program want U.S. importers to know that they are helping Dominican producers and exporters comply with their FSVP requirements. Specifically, both institutions are conducting trainings using a group of 19 Dominican certified Lead Instructors in the respective FDA FSMA Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls curriculum.

These Lead Instructors are graduates of U.S. Department of Agriculture training programs and are able to conduct trainings that meet FSMA requirements and issue certificates of training completion respectively by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA), both recognized by the FDA. This means that Dominican producers and exporters will be able to comply with FSMA requirements in the local language and in a faster and more cost-effective manner using this local expertise rather than having to bring experts from the U.S.

Even though training in FSMA produce safety for farmers was initiated last year and is ongoing, it still needs to be dramatically scaled up. FSMA requires that at least one supervisor or responsible party for a farm must have successfully completed a FSMA recognized produce safety course. With regards to packinghouses, FSMA requires that each have a food safety risk prevention based plan completed and supervised by a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) who has successfully completed FSMA recognized. Most Dominican packinghouses have an identified PCQI technician on their staff and the recommendation is that they have more than one. USDA through the Exporting Quality program is providing 13 packinghouses in 2019 intensive FSMA readiness capacity building that includes increased quality controls that adhere to the requirements of FSMA regulations.

For more information:
Brian Rudert
Tel: +1 809 262 9848 ext. 238

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