Food Safety and Standards Authority plans online licensing


Source: (Link)  Sunday, October 1, 2011


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) would soon introduce an online licensing system for the entire country. Business establishments carrying on food business, having an annual turnover of Rs 12 Lakh or more, have to mandatorily obtain a licence, depending upon the business falling within central or state licensing category, to operate under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act.

Business with turnover of up to Rs12 lakh or below have to get registered with the local authorities.

A licensing process is already in the testing phase for central licensing and it will shortly start in Delhi.

Eventually, full time functionaries will be required at cutting edge levels to ensure implementation of FSS Act, rules and regulation, V N Gaur, CEO, said at a recent meeting of the central advisory committee (CAC) of the FSSAI, in New Delhi.

He said the erstwhile Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has been ineffective primarily because of diffused responsibility amongst the regulators.

The meeting was attended by state commissioners of food safety, senior officials from state governments and union territories, officials of representative ministries of CAC such as the ministry of agriculture (deptt of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries), consumer affairs (department of food and public distribution), food processing industries, health and family welfare, MSME, ministry of science and technology (deptt of biotechnology) environment and forest, woman and child development, panchayati raj) as also representative of trade bodies, experts and directors of food authority participated in the day-long deliberations.

The state governments are in the process of appointing functionaries like food safety officers, designated officers, adjudicating officers etc under the Act. They are also expected to constitute appellate tribunals and strengthen laboratories.

The Food Safety and Standards Act came into force on 5 August 2011.

Gaur said the FSSAI has projected fund requirements for the 12th Plan under various heads and that the state governments and UT administrations will be called upon to implement schemes, viz, e-governance, awareness generation, trainings and laboratory strengthening etc.

He said there would be special focus on food safety plans at the level of local bodies and panchayat.

While a Food Safety Helpline (toll-free 1800112100) has become operational at the national level, Gaur said, similar structure is desirable at state government/UT's.

However, the most challenging part is registration of food vendors and operators, for which regulations are required to be issued while at the same time the registering authority must be within easy reach of the food business operators, Gaur pointed out.


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