INDIA- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a latest order to food business operators, requiring them to specify FSSAI license or registration number on cash receipts or purchase invoice with effect from October 1 this year.

The FSSAI mentioned that the move will succor consumers who can lodge online complaints against a particular business using the FSSAI number as most complaints remain unresolved due to lack of specificity.

“Licensing and registration authorities are directed to widely publicize the policy and shall ensure its implementation mandatorily with effect from October 2, 2021,” the FSSAI ordered.

The regulator stated that mentioning of FSSAI number shall also improve the overall awareness and if not mentioned, it will indicate non-compliance or non-registration/licensing by the food business.

FSSAI license number is a 14-digit number issued to registered Food Business Operators (FBOs); it comprises of five sections, each of them providing different information about the food business operator. The aforementioned indicator has to be affixed on the package of the food product, added with the FSSAI logo.

As the 14-digit FSSAI number of any food business operator is not “easily visible and available to consumers, making complaints with complete coordinates proves to be an arduous task.

Even the regulators find it cumbersome to trace the origin of complaints and promptly attend to it.

It also added that no database can be created without a unique locator code, which in case of food safety is the FSSAI number.

Currently, FSSAI number is compulsory to be displayed on packaged food labels but the issue lies especially in case of establishments such as restaurants, mithai shops, caterers, even retail stores.

Further, the regulator announced that it is ameliorating the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses Regulations to mandate display of ‘food safety display boards’ at all times at conspicuous places in case of restaurants.

However, there remains a lack of mechanism for consumers to know the FSSAI number of the service/product provider it noted.

It also mentioned that even in case of pre-packaged food where the manufacturer’s FSSAI number is printed on the pack, there exists a deficit of tract and trace mechanism whereby the path of the package from a manufacturer to consumer can be traced.

The invoice helps in establishing this trail with mentioning of the FSSAI number which will help in improving traceability for food products.