FSSAI moves amendment to legally validate licensing and regn timeline
After extending the licensing and registration deadline for food business operators (FBO) by two short terms of three months each from February 4, 2016 to August 4, 2016, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) moved an amendment for legally validating the timeline.
In total, since August 4, 2011, 60 months have passed since the exercise, meant to be for the conversion of licences from the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954 to the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006, commenced.
On July 26, 2016, the apex food regulator released a draft amendment note for the validation of 60 months in the rules and regulations for licensing and registrations under the FSS Act. This was done to give legal vetting to the timeline and avoid any legal challenge to the notices for various extensions to the licensing and registration deadline.
It is pertinent to mention here that since the implementation of the FSS Act, 2006, across India in August 2011, an initial period of twelve months was given to complete the conversions, but it was later extended by six months from August 2012 to February 4, 2016.
According to sources privy to the licensing and registration process, as on August 1, 2016, the total number of state licences was 7,08,814, the total number of Central licences was 26,907 and the total number of registrations was 28,31,703.
However, neither the ministry not FSSAI has given any indication about an extension yet. Also it had, in its notice dated May 30, 2016, mentioned clearly that this was the last extension.
Meanwhile, when contacted, a senior FSSAI functionary said that FSSAI officials would hold a meeting to review the situation and after an assessment, the apex regulator would take a decision.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) – who stated that the real problem lay in the fact that the rules and regulations of the FSS Act, 2006, remained unchanged – demanded a further extension.
“The definition of FBO needs to be reviewed. Nothing has been done to address this problem despite so many extension. And we will certainly raise this issue before the health minister again,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT.