FSSAI nod to e – inspect businesses for food permits

After lockdown, food inspectors can schedule physical inspection of units
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to allow State licensing authorities to conduct e-inspections to avoid any delay in grant of licences and registrations to certain food business operators (FBOs) during the ongoing lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
This applies to licence and registrations applications where licensing authorities need to conduct inspection of food units before granting permits. These FBOs will be now be allowed to submit photos/videos or do live-streaming of their units or premises to the licensing authorities for the purpose of e-inspection.
In a letter sent to all State Food Safety Commissioners, the food safety authority stated: “FSSAI has, from time to time, issued directions emphasising post-license inspection instead of pre-licence/registration inspection due to limited manpower and to avoid undue delay in sanctioning licenses. However, the licensing/registration authorities may, in certain cases, particularly high-risk food categories, decide to have pre-licence inspection.”
“Since during the lockdown period this would not be possible, it has been decided to consider e-inspections in place of physical inspections,” FSSAI stated, adding that this is being done to avoid undue delay in granting licenses and registrations during the period.
It said that the licensing authorities can do e-inspection by recording their observations on the basis of videos and images submitted by the concerned FBOs.
“The mode of submission of videos or image related to inspection during the lockdown situation may be through any media available possible, including livestreaming. Upon receiving satisfactory video or images, the licensing/registering authority shall further process the applications without any delay,” FSSAI said in the order.
Once normalcy is restored, the food inspectors can then schedule physical inspections of such units. The regulator emphasised that e-inspection is being allowed only during the current lockdown period.
The food safety authority also reiterated that since food is an essential commodity, the authorities involved in licensing and registration should make all efforts to process such applications without delay.

Why eateries in India do not have food safety license

01/6FSSAI food licensing guidelines
According to the latest NRAI India Food Services Report 2019, of the 2.49 million food business operators (FBOs) in the country, only 467,000 have an FSSAI licence. This report included restaurants, eateries, dhabas and kiosks, among others. All thanks to the report, it has been found that only one out of five eating out places in India has a food safety licence. This report has raised a question on the functioning of food businesses and governing bodies.
02/6Why eateries do not have a food safety licence?
According to a research, it has been found that the lengthy process of getting a licence and the must-haves to get the approval from the governing body, makes it tricky for the local and small eateries to attain licence and to avoid the chaos, they end up selling food without any.
03/6FSSAI’s take
According to FSSAI’s letter to commissioners of food safety of all states, Food and Drug Administration across states has been asked to issue licences to eateries within two months, if no inadequacy is found. FSSAI has also instructed that food businesses can start functioning even if registration is not granted.
04/6Why licensing is necessary?
It has been found that India’s food sector generates revenue worth about Rs 4.23 lakh crore every year but sadly, 65% of the industry is still unorganised. NRAI’s target is to drop these numbers to 57% by 2023. This step is taken to streamline public health and taxation system that is at risk because of the unorganised establishments.
05/6Impact on the food market
The unorganized market has badly impacted more than two-thirds of India’s top restaurants and cafe chains with losses or lower profit during the last financial year due to the rollback of input tax credit (ITC) and hyper-local delivery services.
This step by FSSAI and FDA will not only improve the profit margin of the market players but will also smoothen the functioning of the food businesses and make the taxation system clearer

FSSAI to issue regisration to FBOs on 8th day , license on 61stday of filing complete application

With regard to the issue of license and registration to Food Business Operators (FBOs) in case of unattended applications, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to issue registration on the 8th day of filing of application and license on the 61st day of filing of completed application in such cases.
In a notification, FSSAI said “It has been decided to issue registration on the 8th day of filing of application, if no action has been taken by Registering Authority in 7 days from the date of submission of application for registration.”
It has been decided to issue license on the 61st day of filing of completed application, if no action has been taken by Licensing Authority on application for licence after issuance of Application ID (based on completed application) for 60 days, it added.
Also, if any application for licence remains unaddressed in DO’s bin for more than 75 days, license will be issued on the 76th day of filing of initial application, according to FSSAI notification.
Besides, it said that FBOs application will be rejected on the 31st day from the day application is sent back to FBO for replying to the queries asked by Licensing Authority and the FBOs fail to reply within 30 days.
The decision has been taken based on the representations received from FBO’s regarding non-issuance or non-processing of their License/Registration applications within stipulated timeframe as prescribed in FSS Act 2006 and Rules and Regulations made thereunder.
This has come into force on 30th April 2019 and necessary provision in this regard has been made in the online Food Licensing and Registration System (FLRS). Licensing/Registering Authorities can view the issued Licenses/Registration through FLRS Dashboard.
However, FSSAl will also provide the details of such Licenses/Registration Certificates to Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/U’I’s for necessary action.
As per clause 2.1.4 and 2.1.6 of FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, if a license is not issued within 60 days or the applicant has not received any intimation of inadequacy, then the applicant may commence his food business and the concerned licensing Authority shall not deny the applicant to commence such business.
Similarly, in case of petty Food Businesses, as per clause 2.1.1, if registration is not granted, or denied or inspection not ordered within 7 days or no decision is communicated within 30 days, the petty food business operator may start its business.

PIL on issue of license to meat shops

PIL claims FSSAI and not MCDs should issue license to meat shops: HC seeks Delhi govt’s reply

The Delhi High Court Monday sought a response of the AAP government on a plea alleging that the municipal bodies were still granting licenses for setting up slaughter houses in the city when the power to do so is vested in the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Apart from the Delhi government, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani also issued notice to the municipal bodies in the city and the FSSAI seeking their stand on the plea.
The petition by Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist, has contended that after the FSSAI rules came into effect in August 2011, the food safety authority was the sole competent body to regulate and grant registration or license to slaughter houses and meat shops.
However, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in September 2011 issued a revised meat shop policy under which it continued to grant registration and licenses to the meat shops and slaughter houses, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, appearing for Maulekhi, told the court.
In the petition, filed through advocate Priyanka Bangari, the animal rights activist has contended that the FSSAI Regulations “specifically regulates and lays down the specific hygienic and sanitary practices to be followed by the food business operators engaged in manufacture, processing, storing and selling of meat and meat products, to obtain the said license to operate”.
“Therefore, slaughter houses, meat shops, processing units such as cold storage of meat, etc. are bound by law to obtain license under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 from the FSSAI,” the petition has said.
It has also said despite the Director (Regulatory Compliance) FSSAI 
writing to the Delhi government in June last year to direct the municipal corporation to withdraw the September 2011 licensing policy, nothing has been done till date.

Govt eases rules for budget hotels seeking food licenses


  • Budget hotels will not require star rating certificates for seeking food safety licences
  • The hospitality industry in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.1% in 2022, according to a report by KPMG
The government has relaxed norms for budget hotels in procuring food safety licences to promote ease of doing business for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the hospitality industry.
The move comes in the wake of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) receiving several representations from stakeholders to review the provisions requiring hotel food business operators (FBOs) to furnish star rating certificates from the ministry of tourism’s Hotel & Restaurant Approval & Classification Committee (HRACC) while applying for a fresh licence or to renew a licence.
FSSAI, the food safety regulation arm of the health ministry, has said budget hotels will not require star rating certificates for seeking food safety licences.
“It has been brought to the notice of FSSAI that the scheme of certificate of star ratings to the hotels by the ministry of tourism (HRACC) is voluntary and many hotels particularly small hotels do not go for star certification under the scheme. However, licensing authorities insist on the production of the certificate of ratings even from small or tiny hotels at the time of applying for fresh licence or renewal of licence. As a result, the hotel industry is facing difficulty in getting licences for hotels,” Parveen Jargar, joint director (regulatory compliance), FSSAI said in his order dated 7 February.
Mint has reviewed a copy of the order.
“As per the licensing criteria, hotels with ratings of five star and above require central licences and hotels with rating four star and below with a turnover above ₹12 lakh require a state licence. It is clarified that the criteria for hotels for state licence includes both star category hotels (one star to four star) as well as non-star category hotels, including all those hotels that have not opted for star rating,” the order said.
The ministry of tourism has formulated a voluntary scheme for classification of operational hotels under the star category—5 Star Deluxe, 5 Star, 4 Star, 3 Star, 2 Star, and 1 Star—and the heritage category—Heritage Grand, Heritage Classic, and Heritage Basic. The aim is to provide contemporary standards of facilities and services available on the hotels.
“Small and budget hotels will now have an opportunity of improving their services instead of running around for paper work. This will encourage the hotel industry,” said Arup Mitra, professor, health policy research unit at the Institute of Economic Growth. The hospitality industry in India is expected to grow at 16.1% CAGR in 2022, according to KPMG.
India Brand Equity Foundation, a trust established by the department of commerce, ministry of commerce and industry, said the travel and tourism sector in India comprised 8% of the total employment opportunities generated in India in 2017, providing employment to about 41.6 million people during the year.
The FSSAI decided that hotel FBOs will have to upload on the online food licensing and registration system (FLRS) a declaration stating whether they are star or non-star hotel. In case of star hotels, they will be required to submit a star certificate issued by the ministry of tourism.

FSSAI plans to give licenses in one hour

The apex food regulator is planning to give licences to food business operators (FBOs) within one hour of submission of application. This is being planned on the lines of Union government’s decision to disburse loans to those belonging to MSME sector within 59 minutes of application.

This path-breaking decision was arrived at after the matter was discussed during the Central Advisory Committee (CAC)  meeting held here on Friday. The decision was made in order to push the ease of doing business project further, it was learnt.

While speaking to FnB News, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, informed that the time was brought down to just one hour in order to align with the government’s wish to improve the ease of doing business. Currently it takes 15 days to generate the licence for FBOs after submission of the required documents along with the application.
Agarwal explained that since licensing does not require pre-inspection by the food safety authority, hence issuance of licence should not be a time-consuming factor, as long as the documentation was complete.

He stated, “Licensing does not require any prior inspections and if the documents are fully completed, licences can be generated immediately. It does not take much time, and the only thing was that documents required to be full.”

FSSAI has made a plan for this project and it will be implemented in 10 districts spread across the country over a period of time. The 10 districts include Nagpur, Sangli and Dhule from Maharashtra, North Goa from Goa, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari from Andhra Pradesh, Idukki from Kerala, Somnath from Gujarat, Pradeep (Jagatsinghpur dist) from Odisha and Kangra from Himachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, FSSAI, in consultation with the concerned states, is conducting special drive in these districts to check the FBOs compliance with licensing and registration rules. However, the CAC was of the view that to bring in discipline among FBOs, it is imperative to have special drives in all districts of the country.

Further, FSSAI in July 2018, had already made request to states/UTs to carry out enforcement drive targeting non-licensed FBOs. In the past also, FSSAI has repeatedly requested states/UTs to carry out the survey of unlicensed/unregistered FBOs.

The CAC has said in its agenda note that states/UTs were requested to act in the direction of ease of doing business and may conduct special camps in which licences/registration can be awarded in similar time frame. Further, states/UTs may direct designated officers and registering authorities to identify the area to conduct licensing/registration camps in their respective areas, where the maximum benefit from the camps can be achieved.

FSSAI awareness on Licence / Registration

FSSAI Awareness on Registration / Licensing

Do dry pantries need food safety license ?

TechnoparkToday.com >> In a bizarre turn of events, food safety officials barged into an IT company to inspect their dry pantry (a dining area for employees with a coffee vending machine and drinking water dispenser). The officials not only closed down the pantry demanding a food safety license, but also engaged in a war of words with employees.
This happened despite Technopark authorities given permission to food safety officials only to inspect eateries in Technopark. Thoughtline, a Technology company operating in Ganga building of Technopark Phase III was the scene of the entire drama. It was by Friday evening that food safety officials came to inspect the IT company which is functioning in the SEZ campus.
The employees questioned whether they have a permission to enter the SEZ campus, but the food safety officials insisted on conducting an inspection. They even called police to intervene in the baseless issue.
“It is unfortunate that such incidents are happening at a time when Kerala IT is doing its best to bring major IT companies to the state. It is nothing but officers’ highhandedness and ego. We are running IT companies, not eateries. Such dry pantries are set to ensure that employees get a comfortable area for dining” managing director of a Technopark company said to TechnoparkToday.com.
Employees and management of most of the companies where shocked by the unauthorized entry of food safety officials into an IT company and disrupting its normal functioning. The food safety officials also defamed the name of the company by circulating its name among the eateries which were closed after their audit.
Sources said that the company has escalated the matter to higher officials in the department of IT. It is expected that government will take a strong action to ensure that such issues are not repeated.
Meanwhile, food safety officials temporarily closed down 5 eateries in Technopark citing unhygienic conditions. A total of 93 eateries were inspected and among them, 30 were slapped a fine of Rs. 1.94 lakhs. Tasty Six at Bhavani building, Arabic Paradise near main gate, Gafoor Ka Dosth, Sabardast Fusion, and Table Cafe at Thejaswini building were among the eateries which were temporarily closed down.

Eateries need to hire food safety officer to get licence

The draft regulations are being notified and the final regulations will be enforced subsequently.
The food regulator has drafted regulations for restaurants and eateries, requiring them to employ a food safety officer in order to obtain a licence.
The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India also made it mandatory for companies that sell food online to get separate licences under the Food Safety & Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Amendment Regulations, 2018.
Owners and vendors of food products sold on ecommerce platforms must display their licences or FSSAI registrations. The ecommerce firms will have to ensure that food articles have a pending shelf life of 30% or 45 days before expiry at the time of delivery to consumers. Such food products can be sampled at any point in the supply chain, the authority added.
While applying for a state or central licence, restaurants won’t have to submit blueprints or layout plans, names and lists of equipment and machinery, lists of food categories, copies of certificates obtained under Co-op Act, NOCs from manufacturers and recall plans.
“The revised condition prescribes that a Food Safety Display Board needs to be displayed at a prominent place in the premises and employment of at least one technical person or Food Safety Supervisor trained by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in case of restaurant,” the regulator said.
“Safety and standards are paramount in running any business which has food for human consumption,” said Rahul Singh, president of the National Restaurant Association of India. “The NRAI welcomes such initiatives as restaurants need to dedicate their resources towards food safety to successful execute measures and develop a culture within their premises to stay committed towards customer safety.”
The draft regulations are being notified and the final regulations will be enforced subsequently.
“All food companies will have to follow these revised regulations with immediate effect and the enforcement of these regulations will commence only after the final regulations are notified in the Gazette of India,” FSSAI said.
The regulator simplified rules for slaughter houses, making minimum sanitary and hygienic requirements mandatory because the earlier requirements were not compatible with the operation of small slaughter houses.
Rules have been laid down for catering companies, including those that provide services at eating houses, canteens at schools, colleges and other institutions, religious places, trains and flights, hospitals and events.