Indian Food Safety Standards to be Enforced by February 2014
January 15, 2014
Food business operators across India are being urged to comply with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 before February 4, 2014. In doing so, they will become licensed and registered with the state in which they operate.
Registration and licensing has been slow to start in New Delhi, where they are still awaiting the finishing touches on their new food safety facility, but has been underway in the rest of the country since 2011.
The act was passed in 2006 but amended in 2011. Food business operators were initially given two years to bring their food businesses in line with the safety standards outlined in the act.
The move hopes to make it easier for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to trace vendors for follow-up action. The act itself aims to make food safety a priority by enforcing rules about hygiene and good manufacturing practices. In doing so, the Food Safety and Standards Authority hopes to protect and promote public health for consumers.
To become licensed, food businesses must fall in line with the Food Safety and Standards Act. Having a HACCP Plan in place would allow businesses to meet most of the standards laid down in the act, such as reducing contaminants and ensuring the proper packaging and labelling of food.
Applications for a license can be made online. In line with the act, anyone who is found running a food business who does not obtain a license before February 4, 2014 will be imprisoned for six months and fined. Some food safety officers have been designated to keep an eye on the progress of licensing, as the process was taking longer than expected, pushing the deadline back to February 4.