The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its annual Inspection Observation Data for 2020, and violations on the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs have increased. These have been increasing year-by-year since 2017, when the FDA began tracking the violations; in Fiscal Year 2017, there were 108, but by FY2020, the number of violations had increased to 514. 

Under FSMA, FDA requires the majority of food importers to develop and maintain foreign supplier verification programs for their suppliers. This helps to make sure that suppliers are remaining compliant, and also producing products safely.

The top five violation categories that FDA inspectors found during FY2020 include:

  1. Foreign supplier compliance programs
  2. Hazard analysis
  3. Pest control
  4. Manufacturing controls
  5. Personnel

Although not in the top five, sanitation citations also made up a good portion of the FY2020 violations. Seafood processing facilities were cited 81 times for the failure to properly monitor their SSOPs. In addition, 80 facilities were cited for plaint maintenance and sanitation issues, the result of failing to maintain a clean and sanitary food facility. 45 facilities were cited regarding sanitation of food contact surfaces, which generally means that utensils and surfaces used in food preparation were not cleaned well, in order to prevent product contamination.

For more information or help with complying with FDA regulations, contact Registrar Corp. at 757-224-0177 or visit

Click here to view the raw data for this study.