The Indian Food Safety and Standards Agency (FSSAI) has written to state food safety commissioners and regional directors that reports of food and water tests from state-approved laboratories for the purpose of hygiene assessment are accepted.

The relevant ex-food authority has stipulated in a relevant resolution that, in the absence of a laboratory accredited by the NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories), certification of a state-recognized laboratory for hygiene assessment can be considered.

The ordinance states: „It has been decided that food and water test reports from government-recognized laboratories (other than those recognized by the FSSAI) can be considered in order to award hygiene assessment certificates to the eligible food company.”

Dr. Shobhit Jain, Executive Director, Compliance Strategy, FSSAI, meanwhile, made it clear that this acceptance only serves the limited purpose of hygiene assessment.

The matter that came before the FSSAI related to the Hygiene Assessment System guidance document, which specifies the requirement for a food and water test report from a NABL accredited laboratory for licensed food businesses applying for hygiene assessment certification.

The Hygiene Rating Scheme is a certification system for food and retail companies that supply food directly to consumers. The food businesses are assessed based on the food hygiene and safety conditions observed at the time of the test / inspection. The hygiene assessment certificate is clearly displayed in the food service area in order to increase the demand for high standards for food hygiene.

According to the guidance issued by the FSSAI, the “rating” reflects the standards of food hygiene established at the time of the inspection by the local authority or a recognized testing agency.

The guidance document represents the key components for the implementation of the hygiene assessment scheme in India. The document is divided into 7 chapters and annexes, in which the scheme and the main requirements for the implementation are presented.

In addition, the process of self-assessment of compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures and structural requirements by FBOs is discussed in detail, followed by verification by various agencies or professionals.

The concept of re-examining hygiene ratings has also been introduced to help FBOs improve food hygiene and safety, and to do their part in promoting healthy eating and sustainability.


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