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Dropshipping is a trendy new form of entrepreneurship that offers plenty of exciting opportunities. On a basic level, individuals and small businesses dropship by buying bulk products overseas and dividing them up to sell at a profit in the United States. But part of starting a dropshipping business means navigating the complex world of international imports. Before you make a significant investment, be sure you're prepared for FDA regulations to avoid fines and goods held up at Customs.
Understand Your Products
Not all imported products are regulated by the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration specifically covers categories that impact consumer health. These primarily include foods, medications, and medical devices. Most food products are self-explanatory, but the scope of medical items may surprise you. If a product is marketed with a health benefit, it likely requires registration with the FDA. This can include anything from dental floss to heating pads.
A few notable exceptions to FDA medical restrictions include most cosmetics and supplements. Supplements in particular occupy a regulatory gray area. These products bear the advantage of less red tape, but they have their own risks and liabilities as well.
Know Your Supplier
When it comes to international imports covered by the FDA, both the sender and receiver must comply with certain regulations. Check that your supplier is FDA registered; claims of FDA certification are not always accurate or sufficient. While shady manufacturers may offer bulk items at lower prices, they also open you up to legal headaches. Always work with manufacturers who comply with laws and regulations in both countries.
Research Regulations Ahead of Shipping
Many new dropshippers make their first big order and then face confusion when their products get stuck at Customs. Overseas manufacturers will happily accept money and ship items without the paperwork in place for you to receive them. You will then be responsible for storage fees as you sort everything out. If you're importing an item that could even possibly fall under the oversight of the FDA, check its registration needs beforehand to spare yourself these extra expenses.
Follow Guidelines After Importing
Once your items are safely delivered, it's your responsibility to comply with FDA guidelines while marketing and selling them. This includes making accurate claims and maintaining your FDA registration every year. If all of this sounds like too much hassle or liability, consider hiring an FDA registration service to help you navigate the sometimes Byzantine policies of international imports. Contact an FDA import expert today to make sure your dropshipping business kicks off without a hitch.
For more information, contact a company like Regulatory Solutions, Inc.Share