FSSAI Compliance

The food processing industry is among the largest industries in India. It holds huge potential for elevating the agricultural economy. The food processing and manufacturing units that have been created have resulted in the generation of opportunities for employment and export earnings. Various permits are required to start and run a food business. Understanding the need to regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, selling and import of food products, the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 was consolidated by the Government of India.The Act hereby establishes the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. This national regulatory organization offers food regulatory compliance as per international standards.

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Food Regulatory Compliance in India Classifies Food Products As

  • Standardized products: for which standards have been set and no prior product approval is required.
  • Non-standardized food products: products that do not have safety parameters defined.

  • Currently, FSSAI has standardized 380 food items in 16 categories. Those food items that are non-standardized require product approval. It is imperative to note that traditional foods and their ingredients or additives require product approval. These product approvals are provided by FSSAI under the authority of various regulations that have been implemented.

    The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 has made it compulsory for all business operatives to follow food business compliances. These also have included licenses and registrations by the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011. It further ensures the safety, sanitary, and hygiene of food products offered by food business operators to the welfare of customers of the country. It is an obligation for all food business operatives to acquire a license from FSSAI, including entities right from post farming, manufacturing, selling, retailers, labeling, and more.

    From a consumption perspective, India is a very big market. Each state in India has its own laws governing the business, such as health and trade licenses from the respective municipal corporations, environmental clearances from the state pollution control board. However, every food business operator in India must comply with the Food safety and standards act. To this effect, the Act has confined the food safety and standards in India from a multi-level and multi-departmental control to a single line of command body having headquarters in New Delhi.

    The Objective of the Food Safety and Standards

    The preamble of the FSSAI act also aims to provide food safety to the consumers. It has prepared a checklist to ensure efficiency and transparency in food safety inspections. They have prepared a list of compliances for general manufacturing, milk processing units, meat processing units, slaughterhouses, catering, retail, transport, and storage and warehouse units. These legal compliances concern the design and facilities provided in the unit, control of their operations, maintenance and sanitation, personal hygiene, training, and complaint handling in these units.

    Over the years, we have seen improved awareness regarding the quality of food and its safety. Whether the product is imported or home-based the Food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) is monitoring and surveying food business operators under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. It is imperative to note here that since the administrative control of FSSA has been allocated to the FSSAI body, it thereby holds to be the single reference point authority. There have been 68 food testing laboratories attributed by FSSAI that have been established under FSSA, 2011 Regulations.

    FSSAI License compliances also comprise Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. It also offers quality compliance such as a sample of any food article has to be sent to the food analyst of a notified laboratory. The referral laboratory will conduct tests and investigate the food samples for fixation of food standards for that food item. To ensure high standards of accuracy, reliability, credibility, high professional discipline is maintained in the laboratories.

    Food Products Formula Compliance Check

    In India, for Food Products, whether Manufactured or Imported to India, it is important to obey the regulations. There are some food ingredients or additives that can be used in the food products in their country of origin, but the same food ingredients or additives might not be permitted to be used in India. Therefore, the Food Product Compliance Check is an imperative requirement for the Food Business Operators to follow the regulatory standards as per the Indian Food Safety Authority.

    The process for formula compliance check is a tedious process that requires complete knowledge and a great understanding of the standards for food products and the food category system of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations. The commodities that have their standards as per the Indian Food Regulations are required to obey them. Whereas in the case of Proprietary foods, the ingredients and additives are distinguished in the regulations. If any food ingredient or additive has not been specified in the regulations, it needs non-specified food approval from FSSAI, to be manufactured or imported in India.

    In order to ensure the use of permitted ingredients and additives within their permissible limits, product formula review is also mandatory in accordance with the Food Category defined by FSSAI in the respective regulations and standards.

    Food Products Claim Substantiation

    Claims and Advertisements of Food Products are strictly supervised by FSSAI in India. The claims or advertisements that are not in compliance with the regulations or have not been scientifically substantiated are considered “misleading”. As the food supplements industry in India has grown quickly, the cases of misleading claims have also increased. Only a few Food companies understand the marketable risks of misleading claims. The FSSAI has standardized the claims and advertisements on food products again in 2018. However, the other types of claims that are not standardized under these regulations, requires the food business operators to refer to relevant scientific data and hold the documentary evidence of such data. The food business operative must submit the documented scientific data to the Food Authority as and when called for.

    Understanding the need of the product, we assist our clients in the substantiation of required claims for labeling and advertising purposes. We help our clients to gather scientific works, conduct clinical trials on their specific food products, including functional foods, for the required purposes.

    Various Aspects Covered Under This Are

  • Cross-contamination: This involves any material that, as a result of environmental contamination, has been inadvertently applied to the food. Cross-contamination can occur at the time the food product is produced, refined, prepared, treated, and packaged

  • Chemical or metal contaminants in the food article beyond the specified limits are considered unsuitable.

  • FSSAI also offers requirements for food packaging. Under the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, packaging and labeling regulations have been issued. For pre-packaged, patented, and other particular products, comprehensive regulations have been issued. It argues that the food should be packaged in such a way that, once the food is eaten, its contents remain unchanged. For this reason, the compliance with food packaging and labeling that every food business operator must observe is:

  • Use of food additive or processing aid
    No food products should comprise any food chemical or processing aid till it is in communication with the requirements and guidelines under FSS aid.

  • Renounce contaminants and toxic substances
    No food products must have any additional impurities, naturally emerging toxic materials, or heavy metals.

  • Eliminate the use of pesticides, veterinary drugs, and antibiotic residues
    No food products intended to comprise the remains of pesticides or insecticides, antibiotics, drugs, veterinary solvent, and pharmacologically active substances.

  • Prohibition on the distribution of organic, modified, proprietary foods and functional
    As per the regulations of the FSS Act, no food operator shall issue or produce any novel food. It additional prohibits the supply of exposed, functional foods, organic, health supplements, and the food used for unusual dietary.

  • The packaged food must provide accurate information by way of labeling.
    Primarily, the information on the food products should be written either in English, Hindi, or Devanagari language only. Also, there shall be no incorrect or ambiguous information that could form a wrong impression of the product.

  • No separate distribution of food labels
    The Food Safety and Protection Act, 2006 (FSS), forbids anyone from selling a label separately from the container on pre-packaged food.

  • Information on the label must be readable and legible
    Information that needs to be imprinted on the container should be bright and readable content that consumers can understand in ordinary courses.

  • Necessary information should be mentioned on the container
    The wrappers or labels of the packaged food must contain all the required data in a readable format through the outer wrapper as well as inner.

    Besides FSSAI, it is also the responsibility of state-level food safety and administration bodies to ensure food quality and safety practices are followed in the state. Effective and efficient import, manufacture, sale, and distribution of food articles are important to curb the sale and consumption of spurious, misbranded, adulterated, and unsafe food products.
  • List of Punishable Offences and Penalties over the FSSAI Compliance

    After procuring the FSSAI license, the license holder comes under the supervision of the FFSAI regulatory authority. Therefore, it becomes crucial to follow all the rules and regulations of the law in hand. In case you breach any of such provisions, then you may have to endure punishment and penalties attached to it.

    Various penalties are as follows: –

    FSSAI compliances have been extended to provide quality food to prevent food adulteration, Contamination of food at any point in time before it reaches the consumer is a major issue. For this purpose, food business compliances have been allotted under Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011.

    The compliance checklist of FSSAI stipulates the provisions that every food business operator should follow. Any lapse in meeting the Food Safety and Standard regulations or prescribed regulations can result in heavy penalties. Due to the strict FSSAI rules, it becomes difficult to secure a food license.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    The principal components of the Food Safety Management System, ensuring compliance with FSSAI [Food Safety and Standards Authority of India], are product approval and label validation.

    ● As for raw-material non-compliance.
    ● In the case of illegal practices and giving unhealthy food: contaminants, microbes, pesticides, metals, etc.
    ● In the case of non-standard packaging, misbranding, and labeling errors.
    ● As for cheating advertisements.
    ● As for non-standardized products.

    The food business operators are :
    ● Packaged Food Manufacturers
    ● Processors
    ● Repackers
    ● Storage providers
    ● Transporters
    ● Distributors
    ● Importers and exporters
    ● Wholesalers and retailers

    ● Development of Food Safety Programs
    ● Preparation for External Audit / Internal Auditing
    ● Team Training of Food Safety and Hygiene modes Products Specifications Support with non-conformances
    ● Quality Assurance Certified Supplier program

    Regulations-To ensures the provisions of FSSAI Act.
    Advisories-To provides advisories on matters connected to food and food supplements.
    Alerts-To give alerts with notifications on general awareness and matters related to food safety.
    Compulsory recalls-To issues notice to food business operators to recall products that are infected, unsafe, sub-standard for human consumption.


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