For ease of doing business, FSSAI has integrated its Food Import Clearance System (FICS) with ICEGATE system of Customs under Single Window Clearance Interface to Facilitate Trade (SWIFT) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin and Tuticorin covering 21 locations.
To maintain parity of testing and import clearance at all the ports where FSSAI is not present, officials of custom department have been notified as Authorised Officers on 136 locations. FSSAI import samples are sent to the labs which are NABL accredited. To streamline the functioning of labs for reducing the time taken in testing, 131 NABL accredited labs have been notified for testing of imported samples. Apart from this, 16 referral labs are also notified for re-testing of import samples. Customs in consultation with FSSAI has introduced Risk Management System (RMS) under which the testing and analysis of imported food is limited and reduced.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a statutory body for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Section 25 of the Food Safety and Standards Act provides that all imports of articles of food to follow the standards laid down by the Food Authority so that unsafe or sub-standard food is not imported.
FSSAI has though come up with a single reference document to regulate food import i.e. “The Food Safety and Standards (Food Import) Regulations 2017”which was notified on 9th March, 2017; however, certain queries were arising among the trade about the import processes. In view of above, FSSAI has developed a “Manual for Food Imports” with minute & simplified details of whole processes & provisions related to filing the requisite information to obtain license, deposition of fees, attending the joint inspection and sampling process etc. so that food import clearance may take place with greater ease.
The manual shall also help in maintaining a consistent approach in food import clearances at different ports across the country, both where FSSAI has its own existence and also where food imports are regulated by Customs on behalf of FSSAI.
It may also be helpful for all the Authorized Officers, especially of Custom Department, who too have other responsibilities and require a handy reference material for effective implementation of the Food Import Regulations.
Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation, 2017 is available at below mentioned link: