The Indian food authority has asked the Commissioners of Food Safety of States and Directors of Regional Offices, to monitor the pendency of licensing applications under their jurisdiction through FoSCoS Dashboard and instruct the concerned licensing authorities to strictly adhere to the timelines as prescribed under clause 2.1.4 of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, and orders issued by FSSAI from time to time.

In an advisory, FSSAI has urged all Designated Officers that ‘No pre-licence inspections shall be conducted in cases other than mentioned in the Order for Risk Based Inspection.

“In the case where Designated Officer believes that it is necessary to conduct inspection in non-mandatory categories, he/she shall record the reason in writing with clear justification,” reads the advisory issued by the FSSAI.

The food regulator added that, once an application is marked for inspection in non-mandatory categories, inspection
should be done within 15 days.

And, in case, inspection is not conducted within 15 days, DO should recall the application back to Document Scrutiny Stage in FoSCoS and grant the licence.

Further, in case, where DO still believes that inspection is necessary to be conducted prior to grant of licence, he/she can reassign the inspection to another FSO or to himself/herself for immediately conducting the inspection without any further delay.

The FSSAI had earlier issued directions for Risk Based Inspections in May 2022 wherein pre-licence inspections have been mandated for the categories of Manufacturer/Processor including Milk & Milk Products, Meat & Meat Products, Fish & Fish Products, Fortified Rice Kernels (FRKs) and Slaughter Houses.

In remaining categories of food business, it was already prescribed that no pre-licensing inspection is required
and licence may be granted based on the submission of mandatory documents for licence.

According to FSSAI, it has come to notice that Designated Officers are frequently marking licensing applications for pre-licensing inspection in non-mandatory cases which is delaying the processing of applications and grant of licence.

In some applications, it was observed that inspection is not initiated even after 15 days of marking of inspection.