Fda Announces Temporary Food Policies To Cater For Impact Of Covid-19

Posted: May 26, 2020

The FDA has announced a set of new extensions and temporary flexible policies to allow food businesses to continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, such as labelling requirements and eligibility criteria for rule exemptions.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will be extending the application period for importers to submit their notice of intent to participate and their completed application for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) for the Fiscal Year 2021 benefits period.

VQIP is a voluntary fee-based programme established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that provides expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the United States for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.

The application portal will remain open until 31 July 2020, after which it will close to allow time for the agency to review applications before the start of the annual benefits period that will begin on 1 October 2020.

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The application period is being extended because current travel restrictions and advisories related to the COVID-19 public health emergency have hindered the ability of accredited Certification Bodies (CBs) to conduct onsite regulatory audits and issue certifications to foreign entities, which are required as part of the VQIP application.

Labeling requirements for foods for humans
FDA is issuing a guidance document to provide additional temporary flexibility in food labelling requirements to manufacturers and vending machine operators. The goal is to provide regulatory flexibility, where appropriate, to help minimise the impact of supply chain disruptions on product availability associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Entitled “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines,” the guidance is one of several the FDA has issued to provide temporary flexibility to the food industry to help support the food supply chain and meet consumer demand during the pandemic.

First, the FDA is providing flexibility for manufacturers to make minor formulation changes in certain circumstances without making conforming label changes, such as making a change to product ingredients, without updating the ingredient list on the packaged food when such a minor change is made.

For purposes of this guidance, minor formulation changes should be consistent with general factors listed below, as appropriate:

By Sam Mehmet
May 26, 2020
Source and complete article: Newfoodmagazine.com

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