Food regulator for stricter import norms
FSSAI lists guidelines to stop sub-standard products from entering the country
New Delhi, January 14:
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has listed stricter norms for licensing, documentation, packaging, labelling as well as suspension or cancellation of food importers’ licences, to stop sub-standard products entering the country.
The FSSAI, on Thursday, came out with a notice for operationalisation of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Import) Regulations, 2016 for food importers.
Among the various documents that the food importers will need to submit along with the application for clearance, include recall plan and declaration of regulatory status of food in the county of origin.
The documents must also include submission of declaration that the food is permitted for human consumption from the country of origin as well as the status of regulation of the product in the location of the parent company (if the parent company is located in another location from country of manufacture).
Food importers will also have to submit the list of transit countries through which the imported food product has transited before reaching India as well as the temperature profile report in case the food item is required to be shipped in cold chain conditions.
In addition, if food items require special storage conditions, the authorised officer will verify the true storage conditions before clearance from air cargo operator or shipping operator and if those special storage facilities were available in the storage facilities.
Besides, outlining labelling norms, the regulations also offer a review process for aggrieved food importers.
The guidelines for clearance of imported food by the food authority include that the food importer will need to be present at the customs area to facilitate inspection and drawing samples.
“In the event of the food importer or his Custom House Agent not being present to facilitate the inspection and sampling in spite of two opportunities having been granted, the Authorized Officer shall refuse to grant further opportunity for inspection and sampling of the food consignment. Any further appointment in this behalf may be granted by the CEO or his Authorized representative after levy of suitable penalty on the Food Importer as may be prescribed by the Authority from time to time,” the regulations states.