The Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) is a voluntary fee-based program that provides expedited review and import entry of human and animal foods in the United States for participating importers. Both consumers and importers will benefit from this program.
Participating importers will be able to import their products to the U.S. with greater speed and predictability, avoiding unexpected delays at the point of import entry. Consumers will also benefit from the importers’ robust management of the safety and security of their supply chains.
To participate, importers must meet eligibility criteria and pay a user fee that covers costs associated with the FDA’s administration of the program.
Applications for VQIP are currently being accepted here.
Benefits of Participating in VQIP
- Quicker, easier entry
- FDA will expedite import entry into the United States for all foods included in an approved VQIP application.
- FDA will use its Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting (PREDICT) import screening tool to recognize shipments of food that are part of an approved VQIP application. The screening tool will be programmed to recognize and, in most cases, immediately release the shipment, unless examination and sampling are necessary for the public health reasons listed below.
- Limited examination and sampling
- FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of VQIP food entries to the following situations: (1) “for cause” situations (i.e., investigation of an outbreak or illness) ; (2) to obtain statistically necessary risk-based microbiological samples (when building a product risk profile based on non-biased surveillance sampling); and (3) to audit a small percentage of import shipments covered by VQIP to verify that products declared in a VQIP entry are consistent with products covered in the VQIP application.
- FDA sampling at preferred location
- When FDA needs to examine an entry covered by VQIP, FDA will attempt, to the extent possible, to examine an import entry and collect samples at the VQIP food destination or other location preferred by the VQIP importer. If import entry to the U.S. is denied, FDA will assist in fulfilling an importer’s request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to export the refused products from the port preferred by the importer.
- Faster lab results
- In the event FDA collects a sample of a VQIP food import entry, FDA’s laboratories will prioritize processing of VQIP samples
For more information, contact Mallory Client Services.