The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written to all civic bodies in NCT Delhi to stop issuing licensing to the food businesses under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.
The Municipal Commissioners of all three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (north, south and east), New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board were asked not to carry out the licensing related work as FSSAI is the sole authority to issue licences to the food businesses.
According to the FSSAI, it has come to the notice that FBOs in NCT Delhi were being mandated to obtain licence for carrying out food business operations by these civic bodies and one such ‘form’ for obtaining the licence for the manufacture, sale, preparation, exposure for sale, storage or article of food and drinks is under Section 24 of the Prevention of the Food Adulteration Act.
However, “With the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, passed by the Parliament of India and commencement of the Rules and Regulations thereunder from 5th August 2011, the sole authority for issuance of licences/registration of FBOs in India vested with the Registering Authorities (Central and State Licensing Authorities) duly appointed under the provisions of the FSS Act by the respective Commissioner of Food Safety,” says the letter.
Regarding ‘overriding effect of FSS Act over all other food related laws’, the FSSAI clarified that according to the Section 89 of the FSS Act “the provisions of this (FSS) Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.”
The letter asked the municipal commissioners of civic bodies in NCT Delhi to immediately look into the matter and ensure that no separate or additional licences are issued by their offices and any FBO who is doing business under their jurisdiction or planning to start new business may be directed to obtain the licence from FSSAI.
The municipal commissioners were also asked to share the details of the licences issued by their offices, with the FSSAI, as it was necessary for the promotion of the ease of doing businesses and streamlining of the regulatory and compliance burden of the FBOs.
Food Industry representatives welcomed the move by the apex food regulator and easing out the compliance burden.
D V Malhan, president, the Society of Indian Bakers, said, “This move was pending for some time and now the anomaly is removed this would help considerably in ease of doing business.”
He urged the FSSAI that the apex food regulator should also look into the matter, if a similar approach is adopted by other municipalities across the country, since the governing principle of the municipalities is the same and FSSAI should write to remove such anomaly, if any.