To facilitate the continuity of food business operations during the prevailing Covid-19 outbreak, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken immediate steps to ensure uninterrupted food services or supply during the current scenario.
FSSAI has reiterated and clarified that Import clearances of food items and testing services by FSSAI’s notified laboratories (including both public and private laboratories) are Essential Services. Directions, with immediate effect, have been issued:
Allow FBOs, other than manufacturers, to temporarily operate their businesses based on a valid receipt of FSSAI license or registration application having 17- digit Application Reference Number (ARN) generated upon online application and fee payment FoSCoS. This will enable quick expansion of logistic supply chains, warehouses, retail outlets, catering, food service establishments, and others wherever required. New businesses can start operating once they successfully file a complete application on FOSCOS. This is an interim relief measure; the license or registration will need to be secured before the expiry of the relaxation.
Manufacturers can increase or enhance their capacity based on a valid receipt of FSSAI license or registration application having 17- digit Application Reference Number (ARN) generated upon online application and fee payment on FoSCoS. This will enable the immediate upscaling of production facilities without waiting for regulatory approvals.
No routine inspections must be done except high-risk food products, viz. milk and milk products, slaughter houses, meat, and meat products. However, food safety authorities can conduct inspections in case of select cases based on risk profiling or any food emergency or incidents and complaints. Where feasible, inspections can be done by e-inspection.
The deadline for returns for 2020-21 has been extended till 30 June 2021. All returns are required to be filed online on FOSCOS.
No penalty shall be payable for the late filing of the application for renewal of licenses.
These measures are until and shall cease with effect from 30 June 2021 irrespective of the status of lockdown, curfew, containment at any location. More details are available at www.fssai.gov.in.
FSSAI has written to all States to ensure no disruption of food supply chains and that regulatory compliance requirements are not an impediment to any food business operation.
FSSAI’s, through its flagship training program, FOSTAC, is providing training to food business operators on covid appropriate practices in the food industry. To date, more than 2.5 lakh food handlers have already been trained, free of cost. The initiative needs to be promoted to ensure covid appropriate behavior in the food industry. Details are available on www.fostac.fssai.gov.in