Nearly two years after the Maggi saga and after much deliberations, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified a comprehensive food recall policy, making it mandatory for all food companies to formulate a detailed recall plan.
However, it exempts food retailers from having such a plan unless they manufacture, import, or are involved in wholesale supply of food.
This notification has been formulated to ensure removal of food under recall from all stage of the value chain, ensure timely dissemination of information to consumers. It also sets out guidelines to ensure retrieval, destruction or reprocessing of the recalled food products.
The regulations have given out detailed guidelines for initiation of food recall, operation of food recall and recall communication.
“The food business operator shall maintain the food distribution records which include the names and addresses of suppliers and customers, nature of food, date of purchase, date of delivery, lot number, batch code, pack size, brand name, date of manufacture, date of expiry and best before date, and shall maintain such records for a period of one year from best before date or the expiry date, as applicable,” the regulations stated.
Reason for recall
The food operators will also need to ensure they give out “Food Recall Notice” to promptly inform consumers.
The notice needs to have details about the reason for the recall, places or outlets where the food is found and the action that the consumer needs to take.
In addition, the food business operator will need to submit periodic status reports (weekly or otherwise specified) to the FSSAI CEO regarding the progress of the recall.
They will also need to retain complete documentation on food recall for inspection by the FSSAI or State food safety commissioners. The storage of the recalled food products will need to be done at clear labelled areas.