On a mandate, the FSSAI stated that food import clearances and testing services by the laboratories reported by the FSSAI (including public and private laboratories) were essential services and continued to operate.
The regulation states: “It is reiterated that the following services of the FSSAI are considered essential: (i) import clearance of food at all declared food entry points; (i) FSSAI notified testing laboratories (including National Food Laboratories); 2. All employees assigned the above essential services must visit the office for these services to function properly. “
Furthermore, instructions that were applicable with immediate effect were issued in a different order, relaxing various standards for the operation of food businesses.
The instruction states that the FSSAI (under the Covid-19 situation) will allow FBOs other than manufacturers to temporarily conduct their business based on a valid receipt of the FSSAI license or a registration application with a generated 17-digit registration reference number (ARN ) to operate with online application and fee payment on FoSCoS.
“This will allow for rapid expansion of logistical supply chains, warehouses, retail stores, catering, food service facilities, etc. wherever needed, while allowing new companies to start business once they have successfully submitted a full application for FoSCoS “reads the FSSAI statement.
However, this was a temporary relief measure. The license or registration must be secured before the relaxation expires.
The instruction states that “manufacturers” were allowed to increase or improve their capacity based on valid receipt of the FSSAI reference number. This will enable manufacturing facilities to be upscaled immediately without waiting for regulatory reviews, according to the FSSAI.
According to the instruction, no routine inspections were required except for high risk foods such as milk and dairy products, slaughterhouses, and meat and meat products. However, the food safety authorities can carry out inspections in selected cases based on risk profiles or in the event of a food emergency or incidents and complaints. And inspections could be carried out by electronic inspection wherever it was found feasible.
The deadline for returns for 2020-21 has also been extended to June 30, 2021. All returns can be submitted online to FoSCoS.
Furthermore, no penalty will be paid for late filing of an application for license renewal. The instruction states that this measure was in effect until June 30, 2021 and is to be discontinued effective June 30, 2021, regardless of the lockdown, curfew or containment status anywhere.
The FSSAI has also written to all states to ensure that food supply chains are not disrupted and that regulatory compliance is not an obstacle to running a food business.