In response to Covid-19 pandemic, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is taking several steps to facilitate industry during the lockdown period. As the country moves further in its fight against Covid-19 and many restrictions are being eased across many areas, FSSAI is gearing up to face emerging challenges.
The apex food regulator is engaged with state food safety departments, communicating the emerging priorities in food safety landscape. The priorities communicated include expediting work related to licensing on the online portal; establish licensing helpline in each state with a dedicated number and email id; create robust complaint handling mechanism; conduct only essential inspections and so on.
The need for facilitating food business has been strongly emphasised by FSSAI to the state food authorities. FSSAI had issued detailed guidelines on food safety and hygiene for food businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Realising the need for training food handlers, FSSAI has commenced training for food handlers under its flagship Food Safety Training & Certification (FoSTaC) programme.
Besides training, there is a need to counter myths and misinformation. Several instances
have been brought to the notice of the Authority where products such as frozen food and food served cold/ chilled were selectively not allowed to be transported, stored or sold, ostensibly on the notion that they could promote spread of Covid-19.
FSSAI has communicated to states/UTs giving instructions to review any such restriction imposed in their state and rescind those not consistent with FSSAI guidance. States/UTs have been instructed to follow a non-discriminatory approach while dealing with food businesses in the lockdown and even post-lockdown period