Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 31
pleted as well as sends updates if issues occur.
Particularly because most FSVP deadlines have
passed, Shawn Stevens, founder of Food Industry
Counsel, a law firm that represents the food industry
exclusively, suggested importers who are not currently
in compliance with FSVP create a timeline document. It
should include a specific date - whether June, July or
August - by which the importer and its foreign supplier
believes compliance will be established.
However, FSVP importers that ignore compliance
despite numerous reminders could get hammered. FDA
won't close its eyes to issues when consumers' health is
at stake, and Mr. Hugo suggested FDA will tighten up
sooner rather than later. "We cannot be educating year
after year," he said. "There has to come a point when we
put our foot down and say, 'This is it.' "
With the variances in supplier type, size and location,
a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work, so FSVP inspections are flexible. FDA has also invested in regulator
training for this new inspection. "In the past, the inspectors acted like policemen giving out tickets; it was black
and white," Mr. Heflich said. "With FSVP, FDA is moving away from an audit paradigm to assessment. That
change is going to be really tough for them to figure out."
Calculating the risk
While FDA keeps tabs on FSVP importers and their
documents, importers should monitor their foreign
suppliers. Sometimes this can be difficult due to cultural differences or how easily suppliers cooperate.
Language barriers, personal hygiene and environmental
impacts are just a few factors hindering high quality compliance. Mr. Statman mentioned cocoa suppliers have had
a lot of problems. "With the child labor issue, you run up
against cultural issues where it's very difficult to tell a farmer in Africa that their kid can't work on the family farm,"
he said. "They may look at it as us telling them what to do."
Cultural caveats could also serve as pathways for
companies to classify suppliers as a high or low risk
or how often they check on the suppliers' compliance
with FSVP. Take Guatemala, for instance. "Guatemala
happens to be one of the poorest countries on the
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