The FSSAI has issued a direction that only parameters that were found non-conforming shall be analysed in referral laboratories. The direction was regarding imported food consignments, whose samples found non-conforming with certain parameters during the primary lab testing.

“For the samples taken from imported consignment referred to referral laboratory on request of importers, it has been decided that only parameters, results of which in primary lab found non-conforming to the limit specified in the FSS Regulations and the applicable safety parameters not tested by the primary lab, if any, will be tested by the referral lab,” reads the direction.

The direction added that the analysis report issued by the referral lab shall be final and according to Dr Amit Sharma, Director Trade & IC, FSSAI, the direction shall be valid till further order.

The matter was related to the sampling of the imported food consignment wherein in case if the imported consignment fails at the level of primary lab, sample is referred to the referral laboratory for re-analysis and according to the provision of FSS Import Regulations, the referral labs test all the parameters specified in the FSS Regulations.

Dr Sharma stated, “This takes much time and results in delay in clearance of the imported consignment. This also causes inappropriate utilisation of the resources, which can be utilised for other pending samples, and make it possible to initiate action timely as per FSS Act.”

According to the sub-regulation 10 (5) of the FSS Import Regulations, form 2 has been referred for lab analysis report by the notified lab and section C (related to the conclusion) of the ‘form’ specifies that the ‘samples conform to the specifications laid down for all the parameters in the Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder’.