FSSAI proposes amendments in import regulations for food products

Food regulator FSSAI has proposed amendments in import regulations, making registration and audit mandatory for foreign food manufacturing facilities that exports certain categories of food products to India.

The categories of food products would be specified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) from time to time based on the risk.
The FSSAI has sought comments from public on its draft regulations ''Food Safety and Standards (Import) Amendment Regulations, 2020''. It seeks to amend the import regulations of 2017.

As per draft regulations, "Food Authority may from time to time based on the risk specify the categories of food products to be exported to India, for which inspection or audit of Foreign Food manufacturing facilities producing such categories of foods shall be mandatory."

The foreign food manufacturing facilities falling under such categories and desirous to export such article of food to India should register with the food authority before exporting to India, it added.

Foreign Food manufacturing facility either directly or through importer may apply for registration, the draft said.

On receipt of a complete application, the Food Authority would process the application for inspection and issuance of registration or rejection of the application.

"Officials from FSSAI and relevant ministry/ organization/ department for the purpose of inspection of foreign food manufacturing facilities shall be nominated by the Food Authority," the draft regulations said.

Foreign food manufacturing facility (ies) might be inspected in a manner as specified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). These facilities can also be inspected after the issuance of registration, as deemed necessary.

Foreign food manufacturing facility found to be in compliance of Food Safety and Standards Act would be registered for five years.

"Foreign Food manufacturing facility which requires mandatory audit shall get their facility audited by the auditing agency recognized by the Food Authority," the draft said.

The frequency of audit will be specified by the food authority from time to time. The copy of the audit report/certificate issued by the auditing agency should be submitted to the Food Authority.

FSSAI also proposes suspension or cancellation of registration if foreign food manufacturing facility or their food products are found not to be in compliance of food safety law.

However, food authority might review the suspension or cancellation after giving opportunity for hearing or clarification, as deemed fit.