Many local authorities, reportedly, not allowing sales of aerated drinks, ice cream and even packed juices, has put further pressure on the already bleak market situation for the food and beverage industry in the country.
The industry is said to have referred the matter to the apex food regulator, FSSAI, for clarification. However, sources at FSSAI, point out that the food regulator is yet to receive a formal communication in this regard.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union government has imposed a lockdown across the country. This has forced the businesses to shut and limited operations were allowed based on the need of the commodity.
Since food comes under essential commodity, from the beginning, food products were allowed for sale. Even manufacturing of food products is allowed during the lockdown to maintain the supplies.
However, local administration, particularly, in the eastern parts of the country, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, reportedly refused to allow sale of chilled products like aerated drinks, ice creams and juices.
Industry chambers have also tried to mediate into the matter and put it before FSSAI.
However, sources at FSSAI say that its guidelines are already out and there has been no proof of virus spread through food as yet. Food as source of Covid-19 spread is not proved even in reports of WHO and ICMR.
And the FSSAI will take action only after formally receiving the communication