Phase II, which will run through June 2009, will help the FDA develop the process for evaluating third-party certification programs. The pilot will allow the FDA to identify and address technical and operational issues in assessing certification programs and processing certifications. This information will assist the agency in moving towards broader recognition of voluntary third-party certification programs.
The participants in Phase II of the program are:
- Bureau Veritas Group Company
- Global Aquaculture Alliance / Aquaculture Certification Council Inc.
- Inspectorate America Corporation
- SGS United States Testing Company
- Seafood Inspection Service, National Marine Fisheries Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
- Thailand Department of Fisheries
The pilot program responds to a recommendation in the President’s Action Plan for Import Safety, issued in November 2007, which called for the development of voluntary third-party certification programs for foreign producers who export to the United States. The FDA’s Food Protection Plan, also issued last November, emphasizes qualified and legitimate third party certification as a way to help verify the safety of products from both foreign and domestic food companies.