Food Marketing & Technology magazine, India is in the forefront of innovation meeting the ever changing demands of the industry with practical and usable content . FSSAI has actively been working on food safety regulations overtime. The Covid pandemic has compelled us to rethink on every aspects of food production. Thus Food Marketing & Technology Magazine together with Food Safety Helpline will address the industry’s day-to-day challenges.   

Since 2013 the team at FoodSafetyHelpline.com has published more than 1500 articles and answered thousands of questions and we are now very pleased to further expand our reach and support to even more food businesses.

To help the food businesses achieve their goal of self-regulation and compliance we had established Food Safety Helpline in the year 2013 to disseminate the changes in a simple and easy to understand format and answer queries with the help of experts in the field.

The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 has dramatically transformed the food regulatory system in India.  Food safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has combined a labyrinth of complex laws into a much more simplified single law and has moved from an enforcement-based regulatory system to a self-regulatory system.

FSSAI has been actively working with various stakeholders including large and small food businesses, street food vendors, other regulators, consumer organizations and even international regulatory and standards bodies like ISO and FAO.

This has helped to rapidly evolve rules and regulation to ensure availability of safe and nutritious food for all, while keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders and harmonization with global regulations.

The onus of providing safe and nutritious food has been shifted to the food business operators and they must keep themselves updated with the latest requirements and quickly adopt new requirements to ensure ongoing compliance. 

This partnership will be in the form of a regular column wherein we will be answering questions from readers.

I am about to start a food business in different states and as it is just the beginning, and if the turnover would be less than 12 lacs for the first year then what certificates do I have to ensure before starting it?

If you are expecting that your annual turnover will not exceed Rs. 12 lacs then you can apply for the Registration Certificate. If in case, you are expecting your annual turnover to cross Rs. 12 lacs then you must apply for the license. If you intend to set up a processing unit then instead of annual turnover the production capacity will be taken into consideration. For a production capacity of Up to 100 Ltr/Kg per day, a registration certificate is required to be taken and if in case the production capacity is More than 100kg/Itr to 2 MT /day, a license will have to be acquired. You may also have to acquire a central license for Head Office if in case you have your business operations in more than one state.

I want to start a Dairy unit with 30 animals. Is it necessary to register this dairy unit with FSSAI?

As per FSS (Licensing & Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011:

You need to apply for the Registration Certificate if the production capacity of the dairy unit is Up to 500 litres of liquid milk per day.

State License – 501 to 50,000 litres of liquid milk per day or upto 2500 MT of milk solids per annum.

Central License – More than 50,000 liters of liquid milk/day or more than 2500 MT of milk solid per annum.

I want to start a spice/masala business, so how can I apply for the license with FSSAI. Do I have to get my produce tested at any lab?

You will have to first register your food business under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. There is an online procedure for licensing/registration. Please check for more details here: https://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in/index.aspx#

At the time of applying for a license, an analysis report (Chemical & Bacteriological) of water from a NABL accredited/FSSAI Notified lab laboratory needs to be submitted.

Also, as per one of the conditions of the license, the regulation states;

Ensure testing of relevant chemical and/or microbiological contaminants in food products in accordance with these regulations as frequently as required on the basis of historical data and risk assessment to ensure production and delivery of safe food through own or NABL accredited /FSSA notified labs at least once in six months.

If food is detected as unsafe by the laboratory and that food is purchased from wholesaler and sample of food is collected from the retail store, then who is responsible; the retailer or the wholesaler?

It depends upon the circumstances; if the sample has been taken in sealed & original condition by the FSO from the retailer and the cash memo/bill was handed over to the FSO at the time of sampling, then finally by the court or adjudicating officer, the retailer may be spared and the wholesaler/manufacturer may be held responsible.

When a food product is packaged by a manufacturer of food products for another brand (Manufactured and processed by us and packed for and marketed under another brand name). Is there a requirement to put the FSSAI number of the brand under which the product is marketed?

As per FSS (Packaging & Labelling) Regulation, 2011; the FSSAI logo with the license number of the Brand owner has to be mentioned on the label of the food product. And for Manufacturer & Distributor/Wholesaler etc. only the License number has to be mentioned on the label of the food product.

Our organization is the instant tea premix manufacturer which comes under proprietary food category, as per FSSAI rules please let us know which applicable Indian standard is available?

The definition for Proprietary Food is mentioned under FSSAI Regulations. You can go through the definition and the guidelines mentioned under clause 2.12 of Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 where standards for Proprietary Food have been discussed. You can read/download the standard from the following link: https://www.fssai.gov.in/cms/food-safety-and-standards-regulations.php.

I have purchased a pack of 5 kg Atta, the date of packaging is 03/07/2020 best before 4 months. Is this packaging date is; 03 July 2020 or 07 March 2020?

In India, we mostly follow the DD/MM/YYYY format, so it will be 03 July 2020. Moreover, the labeling guidelines as per FSS (Packaging & Labelling) Regulation, 2011 have also discussed the same format for food product labels.

What kind of electronic instrumentation, test, and measurements are used or required by you to maintain the quality and safety of the foodstuff?

The answer to your question can literally run into hundreds of pages as a huge variety of instruments are used for testing the quality of products to ensure food safety. Nearly all the small and big equipment used in food testing are currently imported and very few are manufactured in India. We feel there is a huge scope for developing chromatographic equipment and manufacturing them locally. These might be very complex and difficult to develop and you can possibly look at starting with the easier and smaller equipment.

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