Food Safety Regulations Circulars- Updates Compliance Management for February, 2022

FOOD LAW NEWSLETTER(1st January to 31st January, 2022)

FOOD SECTOR / INDUSTRY IN INDIA

The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year. In India, the food sector has emerged as a high- growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. The Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70 per cent of the sales.

Through the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), the Government of India is taking all necessary steps to boost investments in the food processing industry in India. The government has sanctioned 41 food parks funded under the Mega Food Parks Scheme of which 38 have final approval. In 2014, there were only 2 Mega Food Parks in the country. As of 1 August 2021 there are 22 Mega Food Parks are functioning in the country. Now the target is to take their number to more than 40.

India’s food processing sector is one of the largest in the world and its output is expected to reach $535 bn by 2025-26. 100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route in food processing industries in India. 100% FDI is allowed through the government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India.

Spices Board of India

Spices Board is the flagship organization for the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices. The Board is an international link between the Indian exporters and the importers abroad.

Sl.ParticularsLink (s)
1Circular on conduct of E-AuctionClick Here
2Schedule for conducting e-auctions at E-auction Center at Puttady & Bodinayakanur from 02.02.2022 to 02.03.2022Click Here
3Official Certificate for Export of Chilli,Chilli Products, Nutmeg,NutmegClick Here
 products to E.U & U.K -Revised list of Authorised signatories-reg 
4Sample Drawn Certificate for Cumin and Chillies Whole -List of Authorized signatoriesClick Here
5Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)-regClick Here

Regulatory Updates:

Lots of Amendments came in from time to time (including Covid-19 Relaxations) in this sector

/ industry and some key amendments are reproducing here for your kind perusal:

of the month of Jan 2022

Sl.ParticularsRelevant Link (s)
  1Food Safety & Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2021 related to standards for Ghee and other Milk Fat Products [Updated on:31-12-2021]  Click Here
2Preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID- 19 and suspension of bio-metric attendance in FSSAI [Updated on:04-01-2022]Click Here
3Validity order of FSSAI recognized Food Testing Laboratories as on 05th January 2022 [Updated on:07-01-2022]Click Here
4Use of Paullinia cupana (Guarana) as a source of caffeine.Click Here
  5Use of names of probiotics specified under FSS (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) first Amendment Regulations, 2021 [Updated on:14-01-2022]  Click Here
6Import of raw cashew nuts [Updated on:18-01-2022]Click Here
7Operationalization of Draft Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Amendment Regulations, 2022 regarding use of recycled plastics [Updated on:19-01-2022]Click Here
  8Extension of continuation status of State Food Testing Laboratory (SFTL): Regional Public Analyst Laboratory, Meerut, UP under Section 98 of FSS Act, 2006 [Updated on:21-01-2022]  Click Here
9Disposal of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) [Updated on:21-01-2022]Click Here
  10Authorization mechanism dated 21st January 2022 for recycled plastics manufacturers as per the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Amendment Regulations, 2022 permitting the use of recycled plastics as food contact materials [Updated on:22-01-2022]  Click Here
  11Corrigenda in Food Safety & Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) amendment Regulations, 2021 related to standards for Ghee and other Milk Fat Products [Updated on:24-01-2022]  Click Here
12Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Amendment Regulation related to non-transparent packaging material for water [Updated on:27-01-2022]Click Here
13Standard   Operating   Procedure    (SOP)    on   Regulatory    action    against malpractices in disposal of Used Cooking Oil [Updated on:28-01-2022]Click Here

Notifications for January, 2022 – for Public Comments

Sl.ParticularsRelevant Link (s)
      1Draft Notification on Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2021 related to Standards for Sheep Milk, oils, Desiccated coconut, Wheat Flour or Resultant Wheat flour, millets, Mithun (Bos frontalis), Limit on reducing sugar in sugarcane Jaggery and Palmyrah Jaggery, Refined Iodized Salt, Low Sodium Salt, Dried Sweet Marjoram, Coconut Neera, Liquid nitrogen dosing in ‘Natural Mineral Water’ and ‘Packaged Drinking Water’, Substances added to Food, Microbiological Standards etc [Uploaded on : 06-01-2022]Click Here Click Here Click Here
2Draft notification on Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2021 relating to inclusion of enzymes derived from genetically modified sources under processing aids as approved in 32nd and 35th Food Authority meetings [Uploaded on : 04-01- 2022]Click Here Click Here

Key Notification in Brief:

1. Standard      Operating     Procedure     on     Regulatory         Action against malpractices in disposal of Used Cooking Oil

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India vide circular dated 27 January, 2022 has issued a Standard Operating Procedure on Regulatory Action against malpractices in disposal of Used Cooking Oil (UCO). If any malpractice is observed from the part of FSSAI enrolled biodiesel plants or manufacturers of soap, lubricant etc. in utilization of UCO, regulatory action shall be taken under the SOP by FSSAI authorities.

The SOP shall be strictly enforced to ensure that UCO is utilized only for manufacturing of intended products and is not redirected to food supply chain by the FSSAI enrolled biodiesel plants or manufacturers of soap, lubricant etc.

FSSAI has taken decision along with the approval of all the Competent Authorities that in case of any malpractice is observed against the FSSAI enrolled biodiesel plants, manufacturers of soap, lubricant, etc and/or their aggregator/collection agency then suitable regulatory action must be taken against them by regulatory officials.

Similar actions are required in respect of FBOs not disposing of UCO as per the directions issued by FSSAI. It has been notified that the regulatory officials may refer to the SOP on Regulatory Action against Malpractices in Disposal of UCO at Annex A for taking suitable action against the non-compliant FSSAI enrolled biodiesel plants, manufacturers of soap lubricant, etc, their aggregators and FBOs.

2. Food Safety and Standards Amendment Regulations on Non- Transparent Packaging Material for Water

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on 25th January 2022 has published the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) First Amendment Regulations, 2022 to further amend the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018.

FSSAI has made several regulations to amend the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (k) of sub-section (2) of section 92 read with section 23 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (34 of 2006).

  • Short title and commencement- These regulations may be called the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) First Amendment Regulations, 2022. They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the official Gazette.

Provided further that food grade packaging materials as specified in regulation 4(1) to (3), which may or may not contain plastic as component compatible with the water to be packaged may also be used. In such cases requirements of transparency would not apply.

3. FSSAI’s Guidelines on the Use of Recycled Plastics as Food Contact Materials

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued draft guidelines for the use of recycled plastics as food packaging.

The Draft Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Amendment Regulations 2022 pertain to the recycling process and operations involved in transforming post-consumer PET bottles used for food packaging into food-grade recycled PET resins suitable for making bottles and packaging materials for bottling or packaging and its testing. The Draft also covers the acceptance criteria for using food grade recycled PET resin material in bottling or packaging operations.

In September 2021, the central government had amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 to allow carry bags and products from recycled plastic for packaging, carrying, storing and dispensing ready-to-eat or drink products.

4. FSSAI’s Standards for Raw Cashew Nuts Remains  Under  “foods not specified”

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided that in order to facilitate trade, the standards for raw cashew nuts may be considered as “foods not specified” and standards for the same may be implemented till the further notification. This order is in continuation to previous letter no. 1-1610/FSSAI/Imports/2017-Part-3 dated 27th October, 2017. This decision has been taken after examining the standards of raw cashew nuts while considering its significant import.

FSSAI has directed all the Authorized officers to facilitate import of raw cashew nuts by ensuring compliance to the horizontal standards as laid out in FSS (Contaminants, Toxins & Residues) Regulations, 2011; and most importantly by considering them under “foods not specified”.

Compliance Mechanism under FSSAI

  • Mandatory Compliance w.e.f. 1st April 2021

Online submission of Annual Returns on Food Safety Compliance System (FOSCOS – Click Here) shall be made mandatory for food businesses involved in manufacturing and importing of food products, wef FY 2020-21 (window for return filing for FY 2020-21 will open wef 1″ April 2021 onwards).

  • Non submission of online AnnualReturns through FoSCoS

The timeline for submission of online annual yearly returns (D-1) for the period 2020-21 due for submission on or before 31st May, 2021 was extended till 31st August, 2021 (previously was extended till – 30th, June 2021)

Non submission of returns is a violation of condition no.5 of FSSAI License and shall attract a penalty of Rs. 100 per day after 31st August 2021.

Corporate News

1. February 5 new deadline to give feedback on GM food: FSSAI

There are several online petitions filed by civil society groups as well as one by SJM against the regulations.

After objection from several civil society groups, including RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has extended the deadline on draft regulations on GM food to February 5. The previous deadline had ended on January 15. There are several online petitions filed by civil society groups as well as one by SJM against the regulations.

Coalition for a GM-Free India, a consortium of several such groups, said the regulator has not committed to publish the draft regulations in vernacular languages, nor has it committed to holding widespread consultations, which were also the demands being put forward by citizens. More than 50,000 citizens have so far signed these multiple letters, with the demand of keeping India GM-free being at the centre of these efforts. Incidentally, the maximum signatories are from Gujarat. Read more at: Click Here

2. FSSAI draft regulations ploy to bring in GM foods through backdoor: Activists

In the run-up to the deadline to submit feedback for the draft regulations on GM foods put out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), citizens and civil society groups have claimed that it is a ploy to bring in GM foods through the backdoor.

The groups have also demanded an extension for submitting comments along with making available the draft in regional languages. After dithering for years on the same, the FSSAI had notified the draft regulations on GM foods on November 15, 2021, with January 15 as the deadline for receiving feedback from the stakeholders.

The draft regulations by FSSAI mention a system for all importers of some select crops — apple, eggplant, maize, wheat, melon, pineapple, papaya, plum, potato, rice, soybean, sugar beet, sugarcane, tomato, sweet pepper, squash, flax-seed, bean plum and chicory — for a mandatory ‘non-GM-origin-cum-GM-Free’ certification from January 1, but this is not applicable to processed GM foods.

Since April 2016, the issue of GM foods had been left virtually unregulated between the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the FSSAI under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the activists said in a release. (Read More at: Click Here)

3. No food products to carry trans-fatty acids above 2 percent: FSSAI

Commissioner Food and Drugs Administration, Shakeel-Ur-Rehman, today held a meeting with manufacturers of oil, bakery, namkeen and sweets regarding use of Trans-Fatty Acid (TFA) in manufacturing/ processing of food products to the permissible limits.

Pertinently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has restricted the permissible amount of industrial Trans-Fatty Acid (TFA) content in food products to 2 per cent and Food Business Operators have to comply with the said regulation from 01.01.2022.

Trans-Fats are associated with increased risk of heart attacks as well as death from coronary heart disease. In 2018, WHO called for elimination of industrially-produced trans-fat from the food supply chain by 2023. Trans-fats are largely present in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats/oils, vanaspati, margarine and bakery shortenings and can also be found in baked and fried foods.

Commissioner sensitized all the stakeholders regarding the subject and sought their cooperation towards ensuring that safe and wholesome food is provided to the general public as a shared responsibility.

The members of Food Business Associations assured full cooperation to the department in this regard. (Read More at: Click Here)

4. Mansukh Mandaviya To Hold Panel Discussion With FSSAI On Prohibition Of Betel Nuts

Discussion on the ill effects and further a complete ban on human consumption of betel nuts, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has informed that the matter will be examined and with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in the 24th meeting of the Scientific Panel on Fruits and Vegetables and their Products scheduled to be held on September 27, 2021.

The Minister’s response came in view of a previous letter written by MP Nishikant Dubey to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year. In response to MP Nishikant Dubey’s letter seeking prohibition on the use of betel nuts for human consumption, it specified that a scientific panel will be examining and discussing the matter, and further based on that, it will be addressed accordingly. (Read More at: Click Here)

5. FSSAI to soon finalise the draft regulations on Ayurveda Aahar

Food regulator FSSAI is in the process of finalising the draft regulations on Ayurveda Aahar and also planning to frame rules for providing perpetual licences to food businesses that need not require renewals.

Addressing a conference organised by industry body CII, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Arun Singhal said the regulator is also setting standards for usage of recycled plastics in food products. He said the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahar) Regulations, 2021, has already been notified.

The FSSAI CEO informed that one key regulation would come into force from the January 1, 2022, is to eliminate trans-fat in foods. He asked the industry to ensure compliance of this regulation. (Read More at: Click Here)

FSSAI CASE LAWS

Telangana HC nixes pleas against ethephon use on fruits

Brushing aside the objections over the directions issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that permitted the use of ethephon for artificially ripening fruits, the Telangana high court has upheld the usage of this gaseous substance and dismissed three petitions that questioned the decision of the FSSAI.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili in its judgment also upheld the guidelines issued by Telangana and said that ethylene gas coming out of ethephon was far safer than the dangerous carbide gas that was being used till now to ripen the fruits.

As the state was found promoting one such ethylene product called ‘Enripe’ sachets, the bench said there was nothing wrong with it. The bench in its order said: “Ethephon in small pouches are kept to generate ethylene gas and there is no conflict of statutory provisions as contained in insecticides rules or the Food Safety and Standards Act. Similarly, regulated use of ethephon only for the purpose of generating ethylene gas also does not fall under section 21(2) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, which prohibits the use of any insecticide on any article of food.” (To read more: Click Here)

Display licence number on bills or face Rs 2 lakh fine, FBOs warned

Food business operators (FBOs) are set to face action with fine up to Rs2 lakh or more and even cancellation of permit if they fail to mention the 14-digit licence/ registration number issued by the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) on their bills, receipts and invoices.

The rule has been enforced across India from January 1 this year. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Nagpur, is set to kick-start a drive to ensure implementation of the FSSAI’s new guidelines. The violators will face action under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The rule applies to all food business operators including manufacturers, distributors, stockists, retailers and owners of restaurants, hotels and other outlets selling eatables.

“The new guidelines will enable consumers to report low-quality products to authorities leading to action against the culprits. With the registration/ licence number, one can track down manufacturer, distributor, stockists, retailers and outlet owners with the details of their businesses, location and corporate office address.”

Suspension of M/s TUV SUD South Asia Private Limited, Bengaluru, Karnataka –reg

M/s TUV SUD South Asia Private Limited, Bengaluru, Karnataka (FSSAI Reg. No. 14/ S/ FSSAI/2014 and NABL TC-5640) was recognized and notified by FSSAI in the Gazette Notification vide S.O. 3648 (E) dated 06th December, 2016 for chemical and biological scope of testing for the purpose of carrying out the analysis of food sample under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations made thereunder.

It is noted that M/s TUV SUD South Asia Private Limited, Bengaluru, Karnataka has been suspended by NABL for six months w.e.f 05th September, 2021 under the clause 4.4 of the NABL Document No. 216.

Thus, due to the suspension of the aforementioned laboratory by NABL, M/s TUV SUD South Asia Private Limited, Bengaluru, Karnataka is hereby suspended for a period of six months w.e.f. 05th September, 2021, from carrying out analysis of samples under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations made thereunder as per regulation clause 10(2) read with regulation clause 10(1)(iii) of the Food Safety and Standards (Recognition and Notification of Laboratories) Regulations, 2018.Copy of the Circular: Click Here

Benefits of having an FSSAI license

The FSSAI full name is the Food Safety and Standards Authority in India. It is a government organization which issues the license required to run a food business. The FSSAI license is issued under the state government or central government by the Food Safety and Standards Authority in India.

There are multiple added benefits of having an FSSAI license apart from freely indulging in the manufacture and distribution of food items.

  1. Securing an FSSAI license even before opening a business can help you get a tremendous legal advantage. It certifies you and your business to be eligible and qualified to part take in the industry.
  2. Having the FSSAI logo associated with your brand name can help spread trust and quality assurance among the target crowd. People can readily invest and approach your business and food market if they know that you have a license from FSSAI.
  3. Having an FSSAI license can help promote your company and brand name, which will help attract opportunities to expand your business and increase turnover profit.
  4. Most food delivery apps require the restaurant to have an FSSAI license in its application.
  5. Having an FSSAI license also allows you to help spread awareness to the masses about kitchen safety and hygiene. People can become more aware and get information about food safety standards.
  6. Having an FSSAI license can help solidify a better and more proactive customer and consumer base for your business.

Disclaimer:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Every effort has been made to keep the information cited in this Newsletter error-free. Suggestions and feedback to improve the task are welcome. The article, information and opinions therein are based on my understanding of the law and provisions prevailing as on date. The contents of this newsletter are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It should not be relied upon as the sole basis for any decision which may affect you or your business. In no event the author shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special or incidental damage resulting from or arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.