US FDA issues FSMA Accreditation Standards and Fee Structure for Third Party Certification Bodies

The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has introduced new requirements to strengthen food safety preventive controls and to improve the safety of food imported into the USA. In December, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published its model accreditation standards for food safety for third party certification bodies and a final rule on the user fee program for voluntary accreditation.

The FSMA rule on Accredited Third Party Certification aims to prevent potentially harmful food from entering the US food supply chain. As part of the rule, the FDA can require in specific circumstances that a food offered for import is accompanied by a certification from an accredited third-party certification body.  Certifications may be used by importers to demonstrate eligibility for the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), which fast-tracks the review and entry of food into the USA.

In addition, the rule establishes the requirements for accreditation bodies seeking recognition by the FDA and in turn, the requirements for certification bodies seeking accreditation. The requirements cover legal authority, competency, capacity, safeguards against conflict of interest, quality assurance and record keeping.

As a leader in food safety management systems assurance and training services, including FSSC 22000, ISO 22000, HACCP and BRC, LRQA is working closely with accreditation bodies and continuing to support companies across the food supply chain to meet the FSMA requirements.

For more information on LRQA’s range of food safety assurance and training services visit or email