INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced that starting February 1, 2023, foreign food manufacturing facilities that come under five food categories and who are intending to export these products to India, will have to register in order to do so.

The five categories include infant food, nutraceuticals, egg powder, and meat and meat products, including chicken, fish, and their products.

The FSSAI has requested all competent authorities of exporting countries to provide the list of existing manufacturers and those who are intended to export these food products to India. Based on information provided by them, the FSSAI will register these facilities on its portal.

The regulator first publicized its intentions last year November where it published the Food Safety and Standards (Import) First Amendment Regulations, 2021, consequent to a year of consultations with industry stakeholders.

It had however not revealed the food categories subject to the mandatory regulation. These new regulations were an amendment to the 2017 regulations.

The regulations are already enforced by international food safety authorities, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The registration is for a period of two years. For facilities that require registration, officials from FSSAI and relevant ministries, organizations, departments, or recognized auditing agencies shall be nominated by the food authority to inspect the facilities.

The amended law states that for food categories covered under mandatory Bureau of Indian Standards Certification Mark Scheme and where the Bureau of Indian Standards scheme of inspection includes the requirements specified under Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, no inspection will be required.

In addition, the cost of inspection shall be charged to the foreign manufacturer being scrutinized.

Despite having gained registration, these industrial facilities are subject to an inspection anytime as deemed necessary.

The FSSAI stated that foreign food production facilities that do not comply with food safety laws may have their registrations revoked or suspended.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Piyush Goyal earlier urged business to make sure its products match international quality standards and contribute to the creation of a “Brand India”, as the country strives to become a developed nation by 2047.

Commerce and Industry Minister Goyal advocated for the merger of several quality certification-related organizations, including the FSSAI, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the Rail or Defense installations, while speaking at an event hosted by the Quality Council of India (QCI).

“I would urge the ministry as well as QCI to work to bring in convergence so that the investment environment that we have created can go from strength to strength and can help India achieve our mission of becoming a developed nation by 2047,” he said, noting that quality will define ‘Brand India’.

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