The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory asking food businesses involved in the import of food articles to use the Food Import Clearance System (FICS) and avoid delays in speedy clearance of the imported consignment.

According to the FSSAI’s advisory, in order to facilitate faster clearance of the articles of food imported at the port and minimise the clearance time the food businesses were advised to avail the facility of advance processing of ‘Bill of Entry’ in FICS while importing food consignments.

“FSSAI has already provided easy facility of advance filing of Bill of Entry in Food Import Clearance System of FSSAI forwarded from the Custom ICEGATE so that scrutiny of documents submitted by the Food Importer to the Authorised Officer is carried out in advance, before the actual arrival of the article of food at port,” said Dr Amit Sharma, Director (Trade and IC), FSSAI.

According to the FSSAI, although several importers file advance Bill of Entry in ICEGATE but when its transmitted to FSSAI for examination, they don’t file it on FICS. “Hence to reduce overall food import clearance time and demurrage charges incurred, all the food importers/ FBOs are hereby advised to avail the facility of advance processing of Bill of Entry in FICS while importing food consignments,” read the advisory issued by FSSAI.

Earlier this month, some food importers challenged FSSAI in the Delhi High Court against the delay in clearances of the imported food articles.

The High Court however did not gave any ruling but in principle agreed to the submission that the importers should be given a public warehouse to place their imports until the clearance was given.