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Guide to Developing a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)

To learn more about Foreign Supplier Verification Programs overall, see our introduction article

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How Do I Develop a Foreign Supplier Verification Program?

If you import products for consumption into the US, you likely are required to develop a foreign supplier verification program (FSVP).


Below is a step by step guide to developing and implementing an FSVP.


1. Determine your Qualified Individual

First, The FSVP must be prepared by a "qualified individual" who has the education, training or experience necessary to perform the activity. If this person is a 3rd party or consultant, that's fine. However, note that supplier verification is an ongoing process and it must always be completed by a qualified individual. For most companies, the easiest solution is to have someone on staff undergo a 2 day training course on developing a Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Source 21 CFR 1.503


2. Decide How Your Program Works

Before you begin approving suppliers, you must establish the procedures you will use to approve suppliers. The goal is to provide assurance that hazards in the food you import are being prevented.

You can rely on a 3rd party to conduct your supplier verification if you review and assess the documentation yourself and document your review and assessment of the materials.

Examples of appropriate verification activities:

  • Onsite audit by a qualified individual

  • Sampling & testing

  • Review of foreign suppliers food safety records

  • Other appropriate supplier verification activities


3. Conduct Your Verification Activities

This step is the bulk of the process: collecting information from your suppliers, reviewing it, and documenting your review process.

You may rely on a 3rd party to conduct supplier verification activities (i.e. a 3rd party audit) if you assess their documentation with appropriate frequency. You must document your review and assessment of the activities and document that the activities were performed by a qualified individual.

The following are common verification methods for approving suppliers:

Hazard Analysis

You are required to review a hazard analysis for each type of food you import. Hopefully, each of your foreign suppliers has completed one and can provide this to you. If not, then you must conduct a hazard analysis to determine whether there are any hazards requiring a control. This hazard analysis must be written and contain an evaluation of environmental hazards.

Some key points about the hazard analysis:

  • You must either conduct a hazard analysis for each type of food you import OR use a supplier hazard analysis.

  • If you are importing Raw Agricultural Commodities (RACs) then no biological hazards need be considered in the Hazard analysis.

  • If you are reviewing a hazard analysis supplied by the supplier or a 3rd party, then you must document your review of the hazard analysis and confirm that it was conducted by a qualified individual.

  • If no hazards are identified which require a preventive control, then no verification is required for those products. Still you must have a hazard analysis on file to show that this has been determined. This provision does not apply to produce.

Subpart L  - FSVP for Food Importers

Onsite Audit

Certain importers may wish to independently conduct onsite audits of the foreign supplier. Or, they may simply review the audit results conducted by a reputable 3rd party auditor.

An audit is required as part of the supplier verification process when there is "reasonable probability that exposure to the hazard will result in serious adverse health consequences or death" you must conduct or obtain documentation of an onsite audit at least annually. (1.506 (d) (ii) (2)

In this case, an audit may be replaced by written inspection results by the FDA, USDA, or a food safety authority of a country whose food safety system is equivalent to that of the US.

Sampling & Testing of Food

If you choose to use product testing and sampling as part of your verification, you must retain documentation of the following:

  • The number and type of samples tested

  • identification of the food tested (lot numbers)

  • tests conducted and the methods of the testing

  • Any corrective action taken into detection of hazards

  • Information identifying the lab

  • Documentation that the tests were performed by a qualified individual.

Review of Foreign Supplier's Food Safety Records

The most common method of supplier verification is the review of a foreign supplier's food safety records.

If you choose to use your foreign supplier's food safety records as part of your verification, you must retain the following information:

  • The records reviewed

  • Dates of review

  • General nature of the records reviewed

  • Conclusions of review

  • Any corrective actions taken in response to significant deficiencies identified.

  • Documentation that the review was conducted by a qualified individual.

You may not allow on the foreign supplier to conduct supplier verification activities for their own business.

Final Considerations:

Hazards Not Controlled by the Foreign Supplier

Does a 3rd party control one of the hazards on behalf of your supplier (i.e. your overseas milk supplier has their pasteurization completed offsite by another company.) If so, you must collect this verification data from the 3rd party or have your supplier send it to you.

Supplier Performance & History

It is perfectly acceptable to take into consideration your supplier's history, procedures, practices, storage, transportation, etc as part of your verification activities.

Document Your Verification Activities

Remember, it's not enough to simply collect these documents from your foreign suppliers -- you have to assess them and document that assessment.

For example, let's say I'm an importer of Ned's Italian Tomato Sauce and they send me their most recent audit result. Beyond having that audit result on file, I need to record that I reviewed that audit, that it showed me they controlling the hazards in their process, and that my review occurred on such-and-such date.

The Whole Picture

For fear of stating the obvious, you must approve your foreign suppliers on the basis of your evaluation. In other words, you must consider all the information you gather in your approval process and cannot discount any piece of information simply because it is contrary to the result that you're looking for.

This doesn't mean that one failed audit in your supplier's history means you cannot approve them. However, you must acknowledge this information if it is revealed in your verification activities or outside of them.

Source 21 CFR -- 1.504


4. Approve your Suppliers and Maintain the Program

Once you have completed your verification activities, you may add the relevant supplier's to your approved supplier list and begin sourcing product from them. At that point, the program should require only occasional ongoing maintenance

Keeping Records of Your Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)

Your records should comply with the following provisions:

  • They must be originals, photocopies or digital records

  • You must keep them for 2 years unless otherwise specified

  • They must be available for review by the FDA

  • You do not need to have a specific copy of each record for the FDA (e.g. you can have one copy of a record to satisfy both a state requirement and a federal requirement)

Source 21 CFR §1.510

There are several exemptions to Foreign Supplier Verification Requirements. This section applies to:

Taking Corrective Actions

You must take corrective actions if you determine that the food you are receiving is not meeting the requirements of the FDA regulations. Simply put, if the food you receive could cause harm to a consumer or is unsafe, then you must take some type of corrective action. This determination could be based on customer complaints or verification activities that you conduct (i.e. records review or viewing an inspection result.)

The appropriate corrective action to take could include discontinuing your use of that supplier until the hazards have been addressed.

If this determination occurs outside of the scope of your supplier verification activities, then it may reveal that your verification activities are not comprehensive. Simply put -- you didn't catch the mistake in your normal supplier verification practices therefore something is inherently wrong with your process. In this case you are obligated to update your plan so that you are able to adequately verify your suppliers.

Source 21 CFR §1.508

Re-evaluating Suppliers

You must re-evaluate your foreign suppliers (and document it),

  • Every 3 years, at minimum

  • When you learn anything new or when anything has changed that would warrant a re-evaluation.

You may use a 3rd party foreign supplier review as your re-evaluation, insofar as you document your assessment of that evaluation. The evaluation must be performed by a qualified individual.

Source 21 CFR -- 1.504

 
Intro to Foreign Supplier Verification Program

For step-by-step instructions, see Guide to Developing an FSVP

Supplier Verification Post Image.jpg

What You Need to Know about FSVP

  • Nearly all food imported into the US must be produced in alignment FDA Regulations

  • Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) is a major component of FSMA which requires US businesses to only import food products from suppliers they have vetted and approved.

  • Most businesses which import food products for consumption inside the US must verify that the food is produced in alignment with FDA regulations. This is done through the implementation of a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). When a certain type of food (i.e. seafood) is subject to specific regulation, a foreign supplier must also comply with those specific standards.

  • The verification process may include, among other methods: an assessment of the supplier's food safety records, a review of an audit report, or a site visit.

 

FSVP post photo.jpg

Applicability and Exemptions

Generally, foreign supplier verification is required for most importers, for most imported foods, and for most foreign suppliers. To better understand what types of businesses and products may not be regulated under Subpart L (Foreign Supplier Verification Program), see the exemptions below:

Very Small Importer Exemption

A "Very Small Importer" is a company that imports $<1mm year in product value for imported human food (or <$2.5mm year in value for imported animal food)

Modified requirements for "Very Small Importers"

  • A very small importer must document that they meet the qualification for this exemption (i.e. be able to prove they are doing less than $1 million in imports)

  • Receive a written assurance from each foreign suppliers, prior to importing any food. The written assurance must be obtained every 2 years and include the following

  1. A brief description of the preventive controls being applied to control hazards in the food. This must be provided for each food that is imported.

  2. A statement that the foreign supplier is compliant with FDA regulations or (when equivalent) the relevant laws of their own country

  • You must take corrective action (such as suspending your import of this food) if you determine that the supplier is not producing food consistent with their assurance.

  • You must keep signed and dated records of these activities for > 2 years.

Foreign Suppliers Requiring No Verification

An importer is not required to conduct verification activities for certain foreign suppliers, including

  • Qualified Facilities, or

  • farms that grow produce and are not covered under part 112, or

  • A shell egg producer that has fewer than 3,000 laying hens.

  • Suppliers operating in countries with an officially recognized or equivalent food safety system

If you are importing products from a foreign supplier that is exempt, the modified requirements are as follows:

  • You must obtain a written assurance of their exemption type (i.e. farm or qualified facility or small shell egg producer)

  • You must initially evaluate your foreign supplier's performance history as it relates to compliance with FDA regulations. You must re-evaluate this if you become aware of any relevant changes or information or ever 3 years at minimum.

  • You must take corrective action (such as suspending your import of this food) if you determine that the supplier is not producing food consistent with their assurance.

  • You must keep signed and dated records of all verification activities for > 2 years.

  • You must approve your foreign suppliers based on the activities described above.

  • You must establish written procedures to ensure that you are using only approved foreign suppliers. You may import from unapproved suppliers on a temporary basis, if you have other, adequate verification prior to import.

Source 21 CFR §1.512

 

Countries with Officially Recognized or Equivalent Food Safety Systems

If you are importing from a country with a recognized equivalent food system, you may be free from the following the majority of FSVP requirements (§1.504-§1.508). As of 2018, the only countries who have achieved this are: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

However, your program still must be developed by a qualified individual, your company must be identified upon food import, and you must maintain your FSVP records in compliance with §1.510.

Source 21 CFR §1.513   

Foods Subject to Special Foreign Supplier Verification Regulations:

Certain foods are exempt from Subpart L (the requirements for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs outlined in this article) and are subject to different requirements.

Imported Seafood Products (aka Fish / Fishery Products)

Since seafood products are subject to specific FDA regulations found in Part 123, importers of seafood products are required to verify that the overseas manufacturer is aligned with Part 123. You can read about the specific requirements for verifying a foreign seafood supplier here

Imported Juice Products

Juice products are subject to specific FDA regulations found in Part 120, importers of seafood products are required to verify that the overseas manufacturer is aligned with Part 120 (specifically, that they have and follow a HACCP plan).

Meat Products

The Foreign Supplier Verification Program does not apply to meat products that, at the time of import, are under USDA jurisdiction.

 

Food that cannot be consumed without the hazards being controlled

You aren’t required to conduct an evaluation or foreign supplier verification when:

  • The food can’t be consumed without controlling for the hazard

  • You rely on the customer (who must be subject to 117C) to control the hazards. In this case you must disclose this to the customer and obtain annual assurance that they are controlling for the hazard

  • You rely on a subsequent entity in the supply chain (further downstream from you and the customer) to control for the hazard.

Source 21 CFR §1.507


FSVP FAQ

How must the importer be identified at entry?

You must identify your firm as the importer and include your FDA identification (DUNS) number and email address when filing for entry. The foreign owner or consignee of the food oversees must designate a US representative as the importer as the food.

Source 21 CFR §1.509

What are some consequences of failing to comply with the requirements of this subpart?

  • The food may be inadmissible for import.

  • The importer may be found in violation of federal law.

Source 21 CFR §1.514

What FSVP must I have if I am importing a food subject to certain requirements in the dietary supplement current good manufacturing practice regulation?

Source 21 CFR Section 1.511

FSMA for Food Distributors

If you warehouse and distribute only enclosed, packaged foods...

Then you are exempt from two major components of FSMA :

  • 117 Subpart C which requires you to have a hazard analysis and a food safety plan, and

  • 117 Subpart G, which requires you to have a Supply Chain Program.

This means you don't need a food safety plan, a recall plan, or a supplier verification plan.

What You Need To To:

Control Food Temperature

If you warehouse/distribute food that is kept refrigerated or frozen, then you must have systems to ensure that proper temperature is being kept at all times. Specifically, you must:

  • Establish temperature controls. This means outlining what are safe temperatures for refrigerated and frozen foods in your space and having this information written.

  • Regularly monitor temperatures of all of your refrigerated spaces (including vehicles) either manually with a log or through an automatic temperature monitoring system.

  • Take corrective action. If there is a temperature deviation that impacts the product, then you must take a corrective action. This means producing a written record showing that you corrected the problem, evaluated the product, and reduced the likelihood that it will recur.

  • Verify your temperature controls. You must calibrate your thermometers or check them for accuracy to make sure you're recording information accurately.

  • Verify your records. This means a supervisor must review the temperature logs (from your trucks or walk-ins) to make sure there was no deviation from the acceptable temperature ranges. You must also review corrective action records within 7 working days and calibration records within reasonable time.

  • Keep Records. You must be able to show that you have records of temperatures records, any corrective actions, and that they have been verified.


If you Import Foods From other Countries…

You are most likely required to implement a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). Check out our guide to FSVP.


If you transport food yourself or hire a carrier to transport it for you…

If you are in any way involved in the transportation of food, then you are subject to the Sanitary Transportation of Human & Animal Food. We let you know exactly what you need to do to comply with that in our guide to Sanitary Transport

 
Sanitary Transport of Human and Animal Food
Businesses involved in the transportation of food in the US must follow 'Sanitary Transport' rules to ensure the food does not become unsafe during travel.

Businesses involved in the transportation of food in the US must follow 'Sanitary Transport' rules to ensure the food does not become unsafe during travel.

Applicability

The "Sanitary Transport Rule" applies to nearly every businesses involved the transportation cycle.

To understand the requirements for your business, assess what role(s) your business plays in the transportation process and review the requirements below.

You can click  to see the requirements for that specific role

Carrier: A person who physically moves food by rail or motor vehicle in commerce within the US (excluding parcel delivery services).

Shipper: A person who arranges for the transportation of the food by carriers.

Loader: A person who loads food onto a motor or rail vehicle as part of the transportation operation.

Receiver: a person who receives food in the US, regardless of whether it is the final destination of that food.

Source


Exemptions:

The following is a list of exemptions to the Sanitary Transport of Human Food regulations:

Non-Covered Businesses:

Certain small businesses are exempt from this rule. There are two ways to achieve the "non-covered business" exemption:

1. A business that is not a motor vehicle carrier (i.e. doesn't physically transport food themselves) and employs fewer than 500 full time employees.

2. A motor vehicle carrier that is not a shipper (i.e. doesn't arrange for shipping of food by other carriers) and has <$27.5 million in annual receipts.

Other Exemptions

The following operations are exempt from this rule:

  • Transportation activities performed by a farm.

  • Food that is merely passing through the US on its way to another country.

  • The transportation of food that is regulated entirely by the USDA.

  • Transportation of the following products:

    • Food gases

    • Food contact substances.

    • Food that is completely enclosed by a container and does not require a temperature control for safety (i.e. a refrigerated food).

    • Live animals, excluding shellfish (they are not exempt)

    • food byproducts that will be used for animal food without further processing.

Waivers

A company may apply for a waiver to waive a specific requirement in this subpart. You can learn more about waivers in 21 CFR §1.914


What are the Requirements for Sanitary Transport?

The goal of this regulation is to ensure that food does not become unsafe during transportation. In order to protect food, all parties involved in transportation must adhere to the following general rules. Additionally, there are rules specific to shippers, carriers, loaders and receives, listed below.

General Requirements:

Protect food from contamination from other items in the same load. It's important that food doesn't get contaminated from other food (i.e. raw fish in the same truckload) or non-food (chemicals that are being shipped in the same truckload). Some ways to do this include:

  • Segregation - physically separate items that could contaminate one another

  • Use of packaging - Use packaging to protect food from contamination



Protect food that is transported in bulk-vehicles or not completely enclosed by a container. For example, if you are shipping a tanker full of milk (bulk-vehicle) or an open truck bed full of corn (no enclosed container) then it must be protected from contamination.

Control the temperature of food that requires it. If a food requires refrigeration or freezing, then this must be maintained during transportation.

If the food is exposed to temperatures that render the food unsafe (i.e. the refrigerator in a truck fails during transport), then the food may not be sold or distributed. However, If a qualified individual (someone with adequate training) determines that the food was not rendered unsafe by this deviation, then the food may be sold and distributed.

Consider the type of food and the stage of production. It's important to understand whether the nature of the food (human food or pet food) when determining how you will keep it safe. Additionally, you should understand the production stage: is the food going to be further processed or is it on it's way to a supermarket?

Food that is going to undergo additional inspections and processing may not need to be transported under as strict conditions than if it is being transported directly to the consumer. For example, The carrier may assess that a truck full of corn can be exposed to a certain amount of dirt during transportation because it is being shipped to a cannery that has agreed to wash it prior to further processing.

Source: CFR §1.908

Specific Requirements:

There are specific requirements for the actors involved in transportation. Note that an entity subject to these requirements may re-assign them in writing to another party.

For example, let's say the shipper is a meal-kit service that delivers meals in individual refrigerated coolers loaded with dry ice. In turn, the shipper doesn't have to pay the expensive cost of refrigerated transportation, since each package is itself refrigerated. Instead, they can ship via a carrier who operates un-refrigerated trucks. Whereas the requirement in this section states that the carrier is responsible for maintaining the proper temperature of the food, they may assign this responsibility to the shipper, who is clearly responsible for making sure each product is packaged with enough ice and in the right container to arrive sufficiently cold.


Requirements for Shippers:

A shipper is the person who arranges for the transportation of food by a carrier (who physically transports the food on trucks/rail). The shipper must do the following:

  • Inform the carrier of all necessary sanitary specifications required to keep the food safe during transportation. This may be a specific design requirement for a carrier's vehicle or a cleaning procedure required to keep the food safe.

  • Inform the carrier of the temperature requirement for the food during transportation. This must be written.

  • Implement written procedures that prevent the food from becoming unsafe during transportation. Although the shipper must develop these procedures, they may be enacted by another party during the transportation process (i.e. the carrier), and this must be agreed upon in writing. For example, if the shipper requires the temperature of their product to be taken and recorded every 24 hours throughout transportation, then the carrier and the receiver may complete this task.

  • If food is being shipped in bulk (i.e. a tanker full of milk), then the shipper must develop written procedures to make sure the previous cargo doesn't make the food unsafe.

  • If the food requires temperature control (i.e. refrigeration) then the shipper must have written procedures to ensure the food is transported under adequate temperature.

Source 21 CFR -- 1.908(b) Requirements applicable to shippers

Record keeping Requirements for Shippers:

Shippers must maintain the following records and provide them to officials upon request. These records (digital or paper) should be kept for at least 12 months beyond their applicability (i.e. 12 months the end of the contract or the discontinuation of a particular activity).

  • Records that the shipper provides specifications and operating temps to carriers

  • All written procedures and policies

  • The assignment of any responsibility to another party

Source 21 CFR -- 1.912


Requirements for Loaders:

  • Before loading food that isn't enclosed in a container, the loader must determine that the vehicle is appropriate to transport the food safely. This could be a visual inspection to ensure the truck doesn't have pest infestation or filth that would make the food unsafe.

  • Before loading the food that requires temperature control, the loader must confirm that the refrigerated area is properly cooled and sufficiently clean to transport the food safely.

    Source 21 CFR -- 1.908(c) Requirements applicable to loaders


Record Keeping Requirements for Loaders:

Loaders must maintain records of any written agreements that assigns tasks required by this regulation. These records (digital or paper) should be kept for at least 12 months beyond their applicability (i.e. 12 months the end of the contract or the discontinuation of a particular activity). These records must be provided to officials upon request.


Requirements for Receivers:

Upon receipt of food requiring temperature controls, the receiver must assess whether the food was subject to temperature abuse (i.e. a safe temperature was not maintained during transport.) This could be achieved by one of the following measures.

  • Taking the temperature of the product upon arrival

  • Taking the temperature of the vehicle's refrigerated space upon arrival.

  • Visually inspecting the food - consider how easy it is to tell if ice cream has melted and been re-frozen.

  • Smelling it - products subject to temperature abuse may produce foul odors.

Source 21 CFR -- 1.908(d) Requirements applicable to receivers


Record Keeping Requirements for Receivers:

Receivers must maintain records of any written agreements that assigns tasks required by this regulation. These records (digital or paper) should be kept for at least 12 months beyond their applicability (i.e. 12 months the end of the contract or the discontinuation of a particular activity). These records must be provided to officials upon request.


Requirements for Carriers:

  • The carrier's equipment/vehicles must meet the shippers specifications for keeping food safe.

  • The carrier must demonstrate to the receiver that they maintained the agreed upon temperature conditions during transportation. This could be the product's temperature at loading, unloading and at various intervals during transportation.

  • The carrier must pre-cool any refrigerated vehicle before transporting food.

Source 21 CFR -- 1.908(e) Requirements applicable to carriers

Requirements for Carriers who use bulk-vehicles

A bulk-vehicle means food is stored openly in a bulk container, such as a tanker full of milk or a truck bed full of loose ears of corn

  • The carrier must be able to provide information to the shipper about the identity of the previous cargo.

  • The carrier must be able to provide information to the shipper describing the most recent cleaning of the bulk-vehicle.

Training Records for Carriers

  • When a carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transportation, they must train their staff to be aware of and address potential problems that may arise.

  • Carriers must have records documenting the training that includes: the date of the training, type of training, the persons trained.

Source -- 21 CFR 1.910

Record Keeping Requirements for Carriers:

Carriers must maintain the following records and provide them to officials upon request. These records (digital or paper) should be kept for at least 12 months beyond their applicability (i.e. 12 months the end of the contract or the discontinuation of a particular activity).

  • The written procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, and (if applicable) inspecting their equipment/vehicles

  • The written procedures for maintaining temperature control.

  • The written procedures for maintaining bulk-vehicles.

  • Training Records

  • Any other written agreements that assigns tasks required by this regulation.

Source -- 21 CFR 1.912

 
117 Subpart G: Supply Chain Program
Truck Supply Chain.png

What You Need To Know

  • Subpart G describes the requirements for a Supply Chain Program.

  • A Supply Chain Program demonstrates that your suppliers are producing their products (typically ingredients and packaging) in a safe manner.

  • You must have a Supply Chain Program if your hazard analysis revealed a hazard requiring a supply-chain control.

  • You have considerable leeway in how you verify your suppliers but there are some specific requirements (see below).

  • You are obligated to document and take prompt action if you learn a supplier is not controlling a hazard as required.


Applicability & Exemptions

This section applies to any business whose hazard analysis reveals a hazard requiring a supply-chain-applied control. This means you can't complete your Supply Chain Program until you have completed your hazard analysis.

For Example - Let's say that Ned's Raw Cookies uses pasteurized eggs as an ingredient in their product. Since Ned's Raw Cookies are sold and consumed raw, the company is not controlling for the salmonella hazard that is present in eggs.

In this case, Ned's Raw Cookies would likely rely on a supply-chain-applied control to minimize the salmonella hazard in their product. Ned's Raw Cookies would request documentation from their egg supplier to prove that the supplier is controlling the risk of salmonella. This documentation may be an audit result, a copy of supplier's food safety plan, or sufficient food safety records to show that that hazard has been controlled.

Exemptions:

You are not required to apply a supply-chain-applied-control in the following scenarios:

  1. No hazards requiring a supply chain applied control exist

  2. Your business (the receiving facility) is able to use a process control to eliminate/minimize the hazard.

  3. Your customer provides a written assurance that they must control the hazard.

  4. The food produced is not consumed by the public (i.e. it's only for research purposes within the company)

  5. The supplier is a "very small business"


What You Need to Do:

  1. Review your hazard analysis to determine whether there is a hazard which requires a supply-chain-applied control.

  2. Determine how you will approve the suppliers of those ingredients/packaging.

  3. Request documents from your suppliers (i.e. a recent inspection report or their food safety plan) to demonstrate that they are controlling for that hazard. You may also verify your supplier's product yourself by conducting tests.

  4. Review your suppliers' documents and document that you have reviewed them.

  5. Only use approved suppliers


What You Need to Have on File:

Your supply chain program must be written and contain the following:

  • An explanation of how you approve suppliers

  • A list of approved suppliers

  • A procedure for receiving products (i.e. a receiving SOP)

  • Each of the following documents for each supplier (if their ingredient has a hazard which requires a supply-chain control)

    • Documentation of having reviewed the supplier's food safety records.

    • A written inspection report of the supplier by the state, FDA, city, or other agency

  • Any records of supplier non-conformance and your response to that (could be a corrective action).

Summary of §117 Subpart G

Below is a summary of Subpart G so that you can get a quick sense of the requirements. If you want to read the original text, check out the source texts, linked below.

This text is aligned with the coding used in the FDA Regulations so that you can hunt down the corresponding section with ease. For example,  you have a question about my wording in §117.405 (a) (2) then just look up this same code in the CFR.

117.405 Requirement to Establish and Implement a Supply-Chain Program

a. 

  1. A facility must establish a risk-based supply-chain program for the ingredients and raw materials that have a hazard requiring a supply-chain-applied control.

  2. Importers who conduct foreign-supplier-verification programs don't need to conduct supply-chain-applied controls for those materials whose hazards have been mitigated.

  3. Requirements in this part don't apply to food whose use is research or testing. However this food,

i. May not be sold or given to the public

ii. Must be labeled "food for research or evaluation use"

iii. Is supplied in small quantity and disposed of.

iv. Is accompanied with documents stating the food is for research and not for public consumption.

b. The supply-chain program must be written.

c. If the supply-chain-applied control is applied by a 3rd party (i.e. not the receiving facility and not the produce supplier -- let's say it's a 3rd party that washes produce on behalf of a farm who sells it to a food processor), then the receiving facility must:

  1. verify the control themselves

  2. obtain documentation to verify that the control was applied.

§117.410 General Requirements Applicable to a Supply-Chain Program:

a. The supply-chain program must include:

  1. Using approved suppliers (i.e. an approved supplier list)

  2. The determination of appropriate supplier verification activities

  3. Conducting supplier verification activities

  4. Documenting supplier verification activities

  5. When applicable, verifying that a supply-chain-applied control was applied by a 3rd party.

b. The following are appropriate supplier verification activities for raw materials and other ingredients:

  1. Onsite audits

  2. Product sampling

  3. Review of suppliers food safety records

c. The supply chain program must provide assurance that a hazard requiring a supply-chain-applied control is minimized or prevented.

d. 

1. In approving suppliers and determining verification activities, you must consider:

i. The nature of the hazard

ii. Who will be applying the controls on behalf of your supplier

iii. Supplier performance, including their history, audit results, test results, etc.

iv. Storage and transportation practices

2. If you are considering the suppliers history, this may be limited if they are a small business, a farm, or a facility that is exempt from some FDA provisions.

e. If you learn that a supplier is not controlling a hazard that you identified must be controlled by the supplier, then you are obligated to document this and take prompt action.

117.415 Responsibilities of the Receiving Facility

a. 

1. the receiving facility must approve suppliers

2. The receiving facility must conduct all supplier verification activities.

3. A 3rd party may do the following on behalf of the receiving party:

i. establish procedures for receiving raw ingredients

ii. Document that written procedures for receiving raw materials are being followed

iii. Determine and conduct supplier verification activities

4. The supplier may conduct product testing themselves and provide this to the facility conducting the supplier verification.

b. A receiving facility may not accept any of the following as a supplier verification activity:

  1. Determination by the supplier of appropriate supplier verification activities.

  2. An audit conducted by the supplier

  3. A review of records by the supplier of the supplier.

c. The receiving facility may accept a 3rd party audit result provided by the supplier.

§117.420 Using Approved Suppliers

a. Approval of Suppliers The receiving facility must approve suppliers and document it before receiving ingredients from them.

b. Written procedures for receiving raw materials and other ingredients 

  1. You must write and implement procedures for receiving products (i.e. a receiving SOP)

  2. Your written procedures must ensure that ingredients are only received from approved suppliers

  3. The use of these written procedures must be documented (i.e. you must have a receiving log to show that you are following your written receiving procedure)

§117.430 Conducting Supplier Verification Activities for Raw Materials and Other Ingredients

a. You must conduct supplier verification activities before using the supplier.

b.

  1. When a hazard in a raw material will be controlled by the supplier and the outcome of exposure to the hazard results in a serious injury or death, then:

i. the appropriate supplier verification activity is an onsite audit

ii. the audit must be conducted before that raw material is supplied and at least annually thereafter.

2. The requirements above (b) (1) don't apply if other verification activities can provide assurance that this hazard is controlled.

c. If the supplier is a qualified facility, the receiving facility doesn't need to comply with parts (a) and (b) of this section.

  1. The receiving facility must get an annual written assurance of the quality facility exemption for their supplier.

  2. The receiving facility must get written assurance every 2 years that the supplier is compliant with FDA regulations or the equivalent. This must include

i. description of the preventive controls in place used to control hazards.

ii. Statement that the facility is in compliance with all applicable laws.

d. If the supplier is a farm that grows produce not covered under 112 (FDA produce standards), the receiving facility doesn't need to comply with parts (a) and (b) of this section.

  1. The receiving facility must get an annual written assurance of the supplier's exemption from part 112 for their supplier.

  2. Obtains written assurance that acknowledges that the food is subject to FDA regulations

e. If the supplier is a shell egg producer not subject to requirements of part 118 (FDA Shell Egg Standards) because they have fewer than 3,000 laying hens, the receiving facility doesn't need to comply with parts (a) and (b) of this section.

  1. The receiving facility must get an annual written assurance of the exemption from part 118 for their supplier, because the supplier has fewer than 3000 laying hens.

  2. Obtains written assurance that acknowledges that the food is subject to FDA regulations

f. There must not be any financial conflicts of interests related to verification (i.e. payments to a company performing supplier verification cannot be related to the results of the activity).

§117.435 Onsite Audit

a. An onsite audit must be performed by a qualified auditor

b. The auditor must consider all regulations to which a supplier is subject. The audit must include a review of food safety plan/HACCP plan.

c.

  1. The following may be substituted for an onsite audit:

i. Inspection results from the FDA, State, or local agency.

ii. Inspection results from an overseas FDA equivalent.

2. If the inspection is from a foreign authority recognized as equivalent to the FDA, then the food produced by the supplier must fall within the scope of that recognized authority.

§117.475 Records Documenting the Supply Chain Program

a. Records related to supply-chain program are subject to requirements of Subpart F

b. The receiving facility must review the supplier records below in part (c) in the same manner that they would complete their own record verification (as defined in §117.465)

c. The facility must document the following records in their supply-chain program

  1. Written supply chain program

  2. Documentation that an importer is in compliance with the supply chain verification program requirements.

  3. Documentation of the approval of that supplier

  4. Written procedures for receiving raw materials and ingredients.

  5. Documentation demonstrating the use of written procedures for receiving raw ingredients (This could be a receiving log)

  6. Documentation of the approval of the supplier

  7. Documentation of an onsite audit, including:

i. the name of the supplier being audited

ii. documentation of audit procedures

iii. dates of the audit

iv. conclusion of the audit

v. corrective actions to be taken in response to deficiencies found in the audit.

vi. documentation that the audit was conductected by a qualified auditor

8. Documentation of sampling and testing (if conducted as part of supplier verification) 

i. Identification of ingredient tested, number of samples tested.

ii. Identification of test conducted including the analytical methods.

iii. Dates of the tests

iv. Test results

v. Corrective actions taken in response to the testing

vi. Information identifying the lab conducting testing

9. Documentation of the review of the supplier's relevant food safety records.

i. The name of the supplier

ii. Dates of the record review

iii. General nature of the records review

iv. Conclusions of the review

v. Corrective actions taken in response to deficiencies found.

10. Documentation of other supplier verification activities conducted.

11. Documentation of the determination that verification activities conducted in lieu of an onsite audit are sufficient in the case that the hazard controlled by the supplier is one that could cause serious health consequences or death. You must provide adequate assurance that the supplier is controlling those hazards.

12. Documentation of an alternative verification activity if the supplier is a qualified facility.

13. Documentation of an alternative verification activity if the supplier is a farm.

14. Documentation of an alternative verification activity if the supplier is a shell egg producer.

15. The written results of an inspection of the supplier

16. Documentation of actions taken with respect to non conformance.

17. Documentation of mitigation of a hazard, if that control is applied by a 3rd party.

18. When applicable, documentation about the 3rd party and their verification activities.