Regulatory Framework

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About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards, 2006 which consolidates various Acts & Orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments. FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

Setting up of FSSAI has been visionary in more ways than one - creating an integrated legislative framework by merging 9 existing legislations into one unified law; moving from the narrow focus on adulteration to a more holistic approach of safe and wholesome food; and marking a complete shift from an adversarial approach to a collaborative one.

FSSAI has been mandated by the FSS Act, 2006 for performing the following functions:

  • Standards and Compliances: Framing of regulations to lay down standards and guidelines with respect to articles of food and specifying an appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified
  • FSMS: Adoption of Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Hygienic Practices, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and other such practices to be followed by Food Business Operators (FBOs) to ensure food safety
  • Laboratories: Laying down procedures and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of accredited laboratories
  • Policy and Advisory Functions: To provide scientific advise and technical support to Central and State Governments in matters of framing policy and rules in areas that have a direct or indirect bearing on food safety and nutrition
  • Risk Management: Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risks, contaminants in food, residues of various contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of a rapid alert system
  • Information Dissemination: Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc. receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern
  • Capacity Building: Provide training programmes to those involved in or intending to get involved in food businesses
  • Collaborations and Partnerships: Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards
  • Consumer Awareness: Promote general awareness about food safety and standards
  • Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 – Key Highlights

    FSSAI has integrated its Food Import Clearance System (FICS) with the ICEGATE System (Indian Customs and Central Excise Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data Interchange (EC/EDI) Gateway) of Customs under the Single Window Clearance Interface to Facilitate Trade (SWIFT) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin and Tuticorin Ports. To minimise the sampling size and time thus expediting the imports clearance process in line with Ease of Doing Business initiative, a risk based sampling system called Risk Management System (RMS) has been introduced by the Department of Customs under the Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT). Due to electronic process clearance, the time for clearance of imported food consignments has been reduced from about 12 days to nearly 8 days.

    Some broad level import regulations that may be relevant for new investors in India, who may choose to begin operations by first importing their signature products, are listed below:

  • No imports of food articles are permitted into India without an import license from the Central Licensing Authority. A remaining shelf life of minimum 60 per cent at the time of import is a must
  • These regulations shall not apply to any person bringing a food article for personal consumption, provided that the value of such food articles does not exceed the amount allowed by customs, from time to time
  • In case of imported packaged food consignments, the following special dispensation on labeling shall be allowed for rectification at the custom bound warehouse, by affixing a single non detachable sticker or by any other no detachable method next to the principle display panel namely: ―
    • Name and address of the importer
    • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s Logo and license number,
    • Non-Veg or Veg Logo
    • Category or sub category along with generic name, nature and composition for proprietary food
  • FSSAI NOC is exempted for imported food on following conditions, by submitting an undertaking:
    • Articles of food imported for personal consumption
    • Imported food consignments meant for display purpose in trade fairs/exhibitions
    • Imported food consignments meant for research & development purposes
    • Imported food consignments meant for sports events
    • Imported food consignments meant for 100 per cent export and re-export
  • Imported consignments of food items having a shelf life of less than 7 days and the food that requires special storage conditions shall be issued Provisional NOC, without waiting for the analysis report from the lab, on the basis of an undertaking from the Importer as prescribed by FSSAI
  • An importer can apply for retest if the primary laboratory finds a sample non-conforming to the FSS Standards
  • From time to time the Food Authority may review risks associated with imports of articles of food and adopt a risk-based framework and risk based inspection process for clearance of imported articles of food or even include them in the prohibited items list

The detailed list of regulations are available at the FSSAI website

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