The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced its first public meeting to discuss implementation of import safety provisions recently enacted by the Food Safety Modernization Act. Titled “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: Title III—A New Paradigm for Importers,” the March 29, 2011, meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, seeks stakeholder input to develop regulations and guidance “on importer verification, the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, import certifications for food, and third-party accreditation.” FDA requests comments by April 29, 2011. See Federal Register, March 14, 2011.

In a related matter, FDA has also announced a public hearing on the agency’s new initiatives for ensuring the safety of imported foods and animal feed to reduce food borne illness. The March 30-31 hearing in College Park, Maryland, will “provide stakeholders the opportunity to discuss FDA’s use of international comparability assessments as a mechanism to enhance the safety of imported foods and animal feed and lessons learned through equivalence determinations.” In a separate discussion, FDA will focus on its “efforts to gather information from regulators in other countries regarding the regulatory policies, practices, and programs they currently use to ensure the safety of foods and animal feed imported into their countries.” According to FDA, the agency wants to better understand other countries’ control systems for importation of ingredients used in processed food and for transshipment of products. FDA requests comments by June 30, 2011. See Federal Register, March 14, 2011.