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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Guidance that details an alternate process that will enable parties to properly identify themselves as importers of food products into the U.S. as of May 30, 2017.
As of that date, regulations under the FDA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) requires importers to provide a unique facility identifier (UFI) that is recognised as acceptable when filing electronic entry forms with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, as currently implemented, only a number issued under the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) will be recognised by the automated system operated by Customs.
Recognising that some importers may not be able to obtain the required DUNS number by the May 30th implementation date, the FDA Guidance instructs importers to enter the letters “UNK” (for “unknown”) in the UFI field for their importer record. This temporary allowance will enable imported foods to be processed through the Customs system, even if the importer has not yet obtained a DUNS number.
Guidance documents issued by the FDA provide important information that can help manufacturers and importers achieve compliance with the Agency’s requirements. However, they are solely intended to present the FDA’s current view of a given topic and do not have the force of law.
The complete text of the FDA’s Guidance is available at the FDA website here.