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Export to the United States: The FSVP, a mandatory program why / for whom!

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Canadian companies wishing to export their biofood products to the United States have seen their work become more complex since May 2017, with the establishment of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mandatory for companies with more than 500 employees, the vast majority of companies have now had to comply since January 2020.

This new reform has the effect of forcing Canadian companies to obtain a commitment from their American customers to the effect that they will vouch for their products, even before being able to have them cleared through customs. Some accept, but the big order givers like Walmart and Costco in particular, refuse.

Another challenge for Canadian exporters
Gary Strange, of American customs broker A.N. Deringer, has worked for a customs broker for 35 years. He finds that the FSVP makes life more complicated for his customers, especially for small businesses. “We feel resistance from American companies to vouch for them. The exporter must do a lot of education with his American client, reassure him about Canadian standards and be able to properly explain the FSVP to convince him to commit. »

Other food processor groups warn against the temptation to cut corners. “It is extremely important to obtain a real consent from the American client, have them vouch for our products and moreover in writing. We must take this very seriously because the consequences in the event of non-compliance could be very costly”.

When the Canadian exporter fails to convince his American client, there is another solution, which is to use the services of an American company that will become the FSVP Importer. Groupe Transit, from Montreal, offers this solution with its partner VMS in Rutland, Vermont.

Trade fairs? Samples?
When the exporter participates in a trade fair, the goods exported for tasting are not sold. It will therefore not be a customer, but a US agent who must be identified as FSVP Importer on the customs invoice. Same thing for sending samples.

Who is the FSVP for?
All food products imported into the United States must comply with the FSVP program. Some products, already subject to even stricter standards, are exempt, such as:
• fish and seafood meeting Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards;
• juices and ingredients meeting HACCP standards;
• alcoholic beverages;
• meats and poultry under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA);
• low-acid canned foods;
• food sent for research or evaluation, for personal consumption, transshipped or that will be processed for export.

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