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A Preliminary Analysis of the Import Safety

Regulatory Framework under the United States

Food Safety Modernization Act

Ching-Fu Lin

Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University

No. 101, Sec. 2, Kuang-Fu Rd., Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan



Together with the globalization of economic activities and the

expansion of food supply chains, food safety has emerged as a chal-

lenging global governance issue which transcends borders and im-

pacts public health in individual nation-states. This challenge is

shared by both developed and developing countries, including the

United States, where regulatory flaws and food safety outbreaks are

commonplace. The Food Safety Modernization Act was recently in-

troduced to address the regulatory inadequacies in the United States,

and aims to expand administrative authorities in regulating food

products as well as to monitor the entire supply chain based on a

“preventive” regulatory philosophy. The new law also mandates a

series of reforms in the regulatory system governing import food

safety, with the general objective of ensuring the same level of safety

and law compliance between domestic and imported products. This

article judiciously examines the three major axes of regulatory re-

form under the Food Safety Modernization Act, with a particular

analytical focus on the import safety rules, including the Foreign

Supplier Verification Program, Voluntary Qualified Importer Pro-

gram, and Third Party Audit and Certification Systems. Based on the

analysis, the article concludes by offering an in-depth evaluation on

the challenges and opportunities arising from the innovative institu-

tional designs of the new law.

Key Words


food safety, US FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,

import regulation