The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a direction regarding reoperationalisation of the FSS (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2020, and FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Amendment Regulations, 2020, relating to fish and fish products.

The amendment in food products and food additive regulations was made to specify the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in fresh water & marine fish while the amendment in licensing and registration regulations prescribes the hygienic and sanitary conditions to be followed while handling, processing, manufacturing, packing, storing, distributing and transporting and retail of the fish and fish products.

These two amendment regulations were made operational in February this year.

The directive by the FSSAI says that these draft regulations are in the process of being notified and the final regulations are likely to take some more time, therefore keeping in view the public health interest and to ensure food safety and fair practice in food business operations, it has been decided to reoperationalise provisions of these regulations from August 11, 2020.

The FBOs were asked to follow these regulations to avoid any action from the enforcement department. The directive says that notice may be issued to FBOs under Section 32 of the FSS Act and accordingly action may be initiated for compliance of these requirements.

According to the draft regulations, the limit of formaldehyde for marine fishes divided in two categories, Group I with six types of fishes, and Group II with 22 types of fishes, was set at 8mg per kg and 4mg/kg respectively, while for freshwater (Group III with 4 types) fishes, the limit is set at 4mg/kg.

Two years back, the coastal states of India had imposed a ban on sale of formalin-laced fish. Operation Sagar Rani was launched to seize adulterated fish in Kerala. Around 21,600 kg of formalin-laced fish was seized in the state under the Operation Sagar Rani and many states have restricted the import of fishes from Kerala


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