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Core Support Builds a Legion of Satisfied Customers

When Azzule built its Core Support team to address the challenges faced by importers trying to comply with the FDA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), it hoped it had discovered a need in the fresh produce industry that was not being met. Roughly a year later, Core Support has already developed a growing clientele of satisfied customers that can attest to the value of the service.

The following paragraphs will offer three examples of different companies who have come to depend on Core Support. Because this communication will reach thousands of clients, this article will not refer to companies or their representatives by name, but will detail the experiences of these actual clients who continue to work with Azzule’s Core Support team.

The first example is a very small importer in California that serves as the importer-of-record for only one commodity – cucumbers. The firm has only three suppliers, and only one of the three is located in a foreign country – Mexico. In addition, when Azzule first became aware of it, the company had already received a letter from the FDA requesting documents showing its compliance with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. The company did not have a “Qualified Individual” to manage and locate those documents, and because it had received FDA forms 482d and 483a, it only two weeks to produce the documentation. It was panicked and turned to Azzule and Core Support for help. One of the company’s two executives told our FSVP expert, “You guys showed up at the right time. What you’re doing for us is exactly what we needed.”

Our multi-lingual team, acting as the company’s QI and using the Azzule Supply Chain Program to house and transfer all relevant documentation,

  1. Developed a safety plan to fit the company’s needs,
  2. Communicated the requirements of that plan with all of the company’s suppliers,
  3. Retrieved all documents from suppliers that were needed to implement the plan,
  4. And, finally, helped the company’s representatives submit all documentation to the FDA.

Several days later, an FDA team conducted its inspection of the small company and came away impressed. The FDA team noted that all of the appropriate documents and plans had been submitted and approved, and the firm’s warning was rescinded.

Another new Core Support customer from Texas also received a letter from the FDA informing it of an upcoming inspection. After receiving the letter, the company’s president went online and searched for “Qualified Individuals.” One of the search selections was Azzule’s Core Support website. This company was also a relatively small operation with only a handful of foreign suppliers. It imported broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, and a few other commodities from Mexico, but it was largely operating without a supplier approval program.

  It had two weeks to put together its FSVP plan, and to collect all of the information from its suppliers.

  The company quickly signed a contract, and Azzule’s experts got to work, conducting a series of hazard analyses and gathering all documents.

When the time came for the FDA inspection, one of the Azzule experts traveled to the company’s headquarters to attend. The company’s executives weren’t the only ones happy with Azzule’s work. The FDA Inspector informed company executives that Azzule had done “great work.” “I’m impressed by the evaluation and verification documents,” he said. “That’s exactly what I was waiting for. It’s the best I have seen so far.” With the inspection completed, the company will likely not hear from the FDA for a long time.

The last of the three companies is another California firm. It is quite a bit larger than those mentioned above, and serves as a shipper for both domestically and foreign grown apples, grapes, green bell peppers, and various types of berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

The company had already signed a contract with Azzule for help collecting documentation from its foreign suppliers, but unlike the companies mentioned above, it already had a Food Safety Director who served in the role of Qualified Individual for its numerous foreign suppliers.

One weekend recently, the director took ill at the same moment that new foreign suppliers were coming on board. Not only did the firm need assistance in collecting food safety documents, but it needed to give its suppliers Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help them meet its compliance requirements. Without any assistance from the company, one of Azzule’s food safety experts conducted the tasks in the director’s stead.

When the director returned to work after her illness, she was stunned, and wrote back with pleasant surprise, “I am impressed,” she noted. “Thank you for everything! Your SOP’s are BEAUTIFULLY written. I just had to tell you that. WOW!”

Stories like these may be anecdotal, but they not only detail the stellar work of Azzule’s food safety experts, but also showcase how significantly Core Support has addressed an important need among American importers.

For more information on how Core Support can help you comply with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, contact Azzule at 805.623.5579 or