The FSSAI has issued an order extending the tenure of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies for three months from May 1 to July 31.

These hygiene rating agencies were recognised by the apex regulator for verification of Hygiene Rating of Food Establishments.

A total of 11 such agencies were given extension.

The order reads, “Keeping in view the challenges being faced by the industry due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Competent Authority has decided to further extend the validity of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies (HRAAs) for a further period of three months w.e.f. 01.05.2021 (i.e from 01.05.2021 to 31.07.2021).”

The agencies include Green Tick Food Tech Pvt. Ltd, FSATO Inspection Services, Azad Agro Enterprises, Parikshan, Conformity India International Pvt Ltd., Food Safety Services, NXG Food Safety Works Pvt. Ltd., Centre for Public Health and Food Safety, QSCERT Solutions LLP, Shree Analytical Testing and Research Laboratory, and Equinox Labs Pvt. Ltd.

Hygiene Rating Scheme is a certification system for the food service and retail establishments providing food directly to the consumers. The food businesses are rated based on food hygiene and safety conditions observed at the time of audit/inspection. The hygiene rating certificate will be displayed prominently in the food service area to create demand of high levels of food hygiene standards.

Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, says that hygiene rating concept promotes safety and nutritious quality of food ensuring consumers safety as good hygiene protocols must be considered into minimising possible microbial contaminations of food.

An official with FSSAI said that an expression of interest was floated in September 2018 for the empanelment of agencies as hygiene rating agencies for verification of food establishment enrolling for hygiene rating scheme of FSSAI.

These agencies were recognised for a period of three years until Oct 16, 2020, and on the basis of request received, the tenure of 12 agencies was extended until April 30, 2021.