The food processing industry one of the largest industries in India is widely recognized as a ‘sunrise industry’ in India having huge potential for uplifting the agricultural economy, creation of large scale processed food manufacturing and food chain facilities, and the resultant generation of employment and export earnings.

The Indian food processing industry is regulated by several laws which govern the aspects of sanitation, licensing and other necessary permits that are required to start up and run a food business. FSSA initiates harmonization of India’s food regulations as per international standards. It establishes a new national regulatory body, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as “FSSAI”), to develop science based standards for food and to regulate and monitor the manufacture, processing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

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.

NOTIFICATION INDEX – DECEMBER, 2022

Sl.ParticularsLink (s)
1Circular No:MKT-AUC/SCHEDULE/01/2018-Special-E auction -Sample testing charges revisionClick Here
2Circular No:20/2022-23-Information on Registration Regulations prescribed by People’s Republic of China-regClick Here
  3Empanelment- m/s. K b engineering services, puttady- small cardamom polishing machine, small cardamom washing machine,small cardamom grading machine & small cardamom dryer  Click Here
4Sub: Schedule for conducting Special e-auction for Cardamom (Small).Click Here

Regulatory Updates:

A ‘Notification’ means a notification published in the Official Gazette and the expressions ‘notify’ and ‘notified’ shall be construed accordingly. Any Notification has to be notified by way of publication and once it is done, it is said to be notified.

Notifications Of the month of December, 2022

Sl.ParticularsRelevant Link (s)
1Suspension of FSSAI Notified Laboratories for not uploading of test reports on INFoLNET 2.0 [Updated on:23-12-2022]Click Here
2Introduction of new Kind of Business (KoB) and inspection checklist for Fish and Fish Products under FoSCoS for License and subsequent matter thereof [Updated on:20-12-2022]Click Here
3Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Second Amendment Regulations, 2022 [Updated on:14-12-2022]Click Here
4Referral Food Laboratory under section 43(2) of FSS Act [dt: 16-12-2022]Click Here
  5Extension of time-period for the compliance of notification F. No. M&MP/Notification (05)/FSSAI-2019 dated 27.12.2022 related to milk logo [Updated on:09-12-2022]  Click Here
6Seizure of Food Articles by the Food Safety Officer under Section – 38 of FSS Act, 2006 [Updated on:06-12-2022]Click Here
7Operationalization of FSS (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose and Prebiotic and Probiotic Food), Regulations, 2022 [FSS (Nutra) Regulations, 2022] [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here
8Re-operationalisation   of    Food    Safety   and    Standards   (Licensing                                      and Registration of Food Business) Amendment Regulations, 2021 [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here
  9Rectifiable labeling information for imported food consignments [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here
10Faceless processing of review applications of rejected imported food items [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here
11Operationalization of FSS (Foods for Infant Nutrition) Amendment Regulations, 2022 relating to revise limits of Selenium, Manganese, iron and biotin [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here
12Re-operationalisation of Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2021 relating to limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in freshwater and marine fish [Updated on:28-11-2022]Click Here

Notifications for December, 2022 – for Public Comments

Sl.ParticularsLink (s)
  1Draft Notification of Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Amendment Regulations, 2022  [Uploaded on : 23-12-2022]  Click Here
  2Draft Notification of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling & Display) Amendment Regulations, 2022 related to labelling requirements of Non- retail container, minimally processed products, tolerance limit, legible / audible warning statement related to pan masala etc. [Uploaded on : 05-12- 2022]  Click Here

Key Notification in Brief:

1. FSSAI Clarifies on Rectifiable Labeling Information for Imported Food Consignments

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) along with the approval of all the competent Authority has decided to facilitate ease of trade while ensuring the safety of food imported into India, based on the provisions under Reg 6(4) of FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017. Notably, FSSAI has decided that all non-compliant labels on imported food consignment may be permitted for rectification at the port itself.

The apex body of Food Safety has also stated that the rectification has to be carried out at Customs bound warehouses before visual inspection or reinspection by the Authorized Officer or his representative, by affixing a single non detachable sticker or by any other non-detachable method. To read more: Click Here

2. FSSAI’s Directions  on  Operationalization  of  FSS  Regulations, 2022

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI)in exercise of the power conferred under section 92 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 has framed draft FSS (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Prebiotic and Probiotic Food Regulations, 2022 and the same were operationalised on 29.03.2022 superseding the FSS (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016.

Notably, the finalization of these draft regulations, 2022 is likely to take some more time before being notified. This is why,it has been decided to re-operationalize the provisions of these regulations as specified in the direction dated 29.03.2022 together with the provisions specified in the direction dated 10.05.2022, with effect from 1st October 2022.

Compliance Mechanism under FSSAI

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

FSSAI Registration is a basic license and it is required for all the FBOs involved in the small-scale food business. 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).

Food Safety Compliance System (FoSCoS) is an enhanced version of Food Licensing and Registration System (FLRS) which was launched in 2012 for issuance of pan-India FSSAI Licenses and Registration. FoSCoS shall also be integrated with other platforms of Government of India such as GST, PAN, MCA etc. further ease out the processes for businesses and also ensure a 360 degree profiling of businesses.

  • Timeline extended for compliance with moisture content for mixed millet flour

The Indian Food Authority has issued a direction for extension of timeline for compliance with the revised specifications of ‘Moisture’ content for mixed millet flour and the compliance with the quality parameters of ‘Alcoholic Acidity and Total Dietary Fibre’ in bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), multigrain and mixed millet flour.

A FSSAI statement, in this regard, stated that it has been decided to keep enforcement of these parameters in abeyance till December 31, 2022. To read more: Click Here

Legal Metrology related Amendment:

1. The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment (Amendment) Rules, 2022

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has released the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment (Amendment) Rules, 2022 to amend the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.

Central Government has extended the Due Date for the implementation date of Unit Sale Price declaration till 01.01.2023 (earlier due date was 01.12.2022).

A packaged commodity of less than one kg quantity should have ‘unit sale price’ per gram along with the total MRP of the product (subject to Legal Metrology provisions related t exemption). Earlier applicable due date was 01.10.2022 then 01.12.2022. But now it is effective from 01st January, 2023.

  • Legal metrology officials raid 190 meat shops in Vijayawada

Upon receiving several complaints from the public over illegal business practices in meat shops, sleuths of Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) along with the Legal Metrology department carried out surprise inspections on mutton, chicken and fish shops across the State on Sunday.The officials inspected a total of 353 meat shops and imposed fines to as many as 190 traders under various sections of Legal Metrology act, 2009 for violating standard rules.

According to vigilance officials, they received several complaints from the public across the State alleging that some traders are using non-standard weights and instruments without the seal and stamp of the Legal Metrology Department. The traders were caught red handed using unstamped and non-standard weighing machines.

Meanwhile, fine was imposed on five shops in Nellore city and two shops in Kurnool town as the shopkeepers reportedly failed to maintain proper hygiene.They also noticed a few temporary mutton, chicken and fish stalls spring up on road sides on the pavements in different parts of the State without the permission from concerned officials.

CORPORATE NEWS

1. FSSAI Approval For Non-Specified Food & Food Ingredients First Amendment Regulations 2022

Regulatory amendments for approving ‘non-specified’ food products have been notified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) 2022. Food businesses can appeal against the decision to reject their applications within the deadline set by the regulation.

A Food Business Operator can appeal a rejection of an application to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) within 30 days of receiving the rejection letter, according to the regulations. Any delay beyond 30 days will be allowed, with reasons to be spelled out in writing by the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer will dispose of such an appeal within 30 days of receipt. The Chief Executive Officer can allow the appeal after 30 days if there’s a good reason.

As a result of the decision of the Chief Executive Officer of the Food Authority, a Food Business Operator who feels aggrieved may file a review petition with the Chairperson of the Food Authority within 30 days of the appellate order being issued. Upon receipt of such review, it shall be resolved within 30 days. Any delay beyond that period shall be justified with

written reasons. As long as there are sufficient reasons for the delay, the Chairperson may allow the appeal after 30 days.

To get approval, food businesses must provide all documentation detailing the safety of their products within 30 days if clarification is needed. The FBO can appeal against any rejection

decision by the Food Authority. FBOs can file a review petition if they’re still upset about the decision of the Chairperson, Food Authority so that the Food Authority can consider it at their next meeting. For reasons spelled out in writing, the Food Authority can suspend or revoke any approval given to an FBO.An FBO must also submit supporting documents, including scientific studies that involve human interventions or human clinical studies, for the functional benefits of their products, such as health benefits. The FSSAI defines a novel food as something that doesn’t have a history of human consumption or may have ingredients or sources that were never used before. Foods or ingredients that humans haven’t consumed; or food or ingredients produced with cutting-edge technology and innovative engineering processes, where the process changes the composition, the structure or the size of the food or food ingredients, which may change nutrition, metabolism, or levels of bad stuff. Read more at: Click Here

2. FSSAI’s star rating proposal ineffective in curbing unhealthy foods, says doctors panel

National food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s star rating labelling proposal for packaged foods will be ineffective in curbing consumption of unhealthy foods,health activists and doctors said in joint statements.

They said consumption of packaged and ultra-processed foods and beverages increasing exponentially across India is leading to shifts in diets, and is leading to higher diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Dr Umesh Kapil, president, Epidemiological Foundation of India said, “The purpose of front- of-pack labels is to give clear and unambiguous information about the health value of food products, that helps people make the right choice. Even though well intended, FSSAI’s proposed India Nutrition Rating, is unlikely to serve that purpose.

The statement cited study findings by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), that consumers prefer clear warning labels.

FSSAI’s proposed label norms, however, are based on star ratings. “This will confuse consumers. Even the unhealthiest food product may get two stars and gain a false ‘health halo,” Dr Kapil said.

Front-of-pack warning labelling is gaining traction across the world as an important strategy to improve public health as it helps consumers to identify in a quick, clear and effective way, products high in sugar, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats and total fats.

3. FSSAI asks FMCG companies to back up their claims on food packaging

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a set of amendments to advertising and claims on food products, called the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Second Amendment Regulations of 2022.

The new regulations mandate companies to make clearer disclosures on food packets, holding them responsible for advertisements and claims on labels. FSSAI has issued a set of conditions for claims like fat-free, low sugar, protein right, and source of fibre, among others.

For example, a food can be called low fat only if it contains 3 grams or less of fat per 100gm of solid food and fat-free only if that’s less than 0.5gm per 100 grams.

Similarly, it’s low sugar only if it’s 5 grams or less per 100gm of solids. Similar conditions are given for a whole host of other nutrients like protein, cholesterol, vitamins, dietary fibre, gluten, etc. Claims like no added salt can be made only if the food item and its ingredients have no sodium salts or substitutes.

If a food item claims to reduce a health risk or disease, companies will have to specify how much of that food has to be consumed per day for that claim to hold true. There are also other disclosures with respect to the volumes of nutrients and micronutrients present in food items.

Now, these regulations came into effect on December 13 and may require food companies to rework their packaging to comply with the new regulations and they have 30 days to do this and seek clarifications. Read More at: Click Here

4. Tata Steel gets India’s first BIS license to produce Corten Steel; to reduce import dependence

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has awarded the first license to produce Structural Weather Resistant Steel (Corten Steel), conforming to IS 11587, to Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur plant. The license is given to Tata Steel as part of India’s larger endeavour to reduce country’s dependence on import of shipping containers manufactured using Corten Steel. This special grade steel is predominantly used in the manufacturing of shipping containers and other heavy- duty weather-proof applications including rail wagon side panels, rice mill containers, building construction, street furniture and upmarket works of art, signs, chimineas and fire bowls.

A felicitation ceremony was organised by BIS in New Delhi to formally grant the license to Tata Steel. The license was presented to the Company’s senior executives – Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President (Technology & New Materials Business) and Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President (Corporate Services) by Pramod Kumar Tiwari, Director General, Bureau of Indian Standards in the presence of Abhijit Narendra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel and other senior dignitaries.

The license provided to Tata Steel to produce Corten steel will contribute to the Government’s vision of self-reliant nation – ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’, which aims to strengthen India’s manufacturing economy by systemically lowering the dependence on imports across various products.

Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology & New Materials Business, Tata Steel, said: “We are delighted to receive the first all India BIS license to manufacture Corten grade steel. This development of new and specialised steel grade, a testimony to our new product development, research, and innovation capabilities, will drive Company’s competitiveness and contribute to the vision of AatmaNirbhar Bharat by reducing our nation’s reliance on imports. We are committed to developing cuttingedge technologies and designing

solutions that help transform processes, improve efficiencies, and enable world-class customer experiences.”

Building India’s capability to produce Corten Steel will open fresh opportunities for domestic cargo transportation leveraging the vast expanse of inland waterways of India. This will enable movement of bulk cargos like cement, food grains, fertilisers etc. through coastal and inland waterways in containerised form – an economical, ecological, and easier mode of transportation – and will reduce the cost of logistics and handling charges. Earlier this year, Tata Steel had undertaken its maiden multi-modal shipment of ~1,800 tonnes of finished steel product (TMT bars) from Haldia Port in West Bengal to Pandu Port in Assam using the Indo- Bangladesh Protocol Route via Brahmaputra River, becoming the first steel company in India to do so. This shipment of Tata Steel’s TMT bars that arrived at Haldia on rail before being loaded on to river barges marked the beginning of the use of multimodal logistics, a landmark effort to decarbonise the steel sector and the country.

5. BIS publishes standard for online consumer reviews

According to an official statement, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standard body of India, has published an Indian Standard — IS 19000:2022, ‘Online Consumer Reviews – Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication’.

According to an official statement, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standard body of India, has published an Indian Standard — IS 19000:2022, ‘Online Consumer Reviews – Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication’

“This standard provides requirements and recommendations for the principles and methods for review administrators to apply in their collection, moderation and publication of online consumer reviews. The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator,” the statement said.

BIS standard lays down the process which demonstrates the commitment of consumer review sites that they value their customers and provide reviews that can be trusted.

Over the last few years, there has been a steady rise in e-commerce transactions across the country. Reviews posted online play a significant role in making purchase decisions and consumers exceedingly rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the goods or services.

The BIS standards, prepared after extensive stakeholder consultations, will be voluntary but the government will consider making them mandatory in case the menace of fake reviews continue on online platforms, he had said.

Organisations will have to voluntarily disclose all paid consumer reviews of products and services offered on their platforms. However, the government has barred publication of reviews that “have been purchased and/or written by individuals employed for that purpose by the supplier or third party concerned”.

FSSAI CASE LAWS

  • Delhi HC seeks Centre’s stand on plea seeking establishment of BIS as national standards body

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Talwant Singh issued notices to 10 respondents, including the Centre through its ministries such as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and News Broadcasters Federation, among others.

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought the Centre’s stand in a PIL seeking a direction to the Union Government to establish the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the “national standards body of India” in respect of “television audience measurement services”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notices to 10 respondents, including the Centre through its ministries such as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and News Broadcasters Federation, among others. The high court asked the parties to file their replies and listed the matter for hearing on April 28, 2023.

The plea moved by Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, a registered trust, seeks strict compliance and implementation of the BIS Act, 2016, with respect to Television Audience Measurement Services. The plea refers to the preamble of the Act which reads as “an Act to provide for the establishment of a national standards body for the harmonious development of the activities of standardisation, conformity assessment and quality assurance of goods, articles, processes, systems and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”, and seeks its implementation with respect to the said services.

The plea seeks a direction that private institutions like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and other similar private institutions be “forthwith refrained from performing the statutory function of BIS in respect of Television Audience Measurement services”. It further seeks a direction to the Centre to take steps to take over the BARC board.

  • Tripura: High Court Orders State To Check Water Manufacturing Facilities

The Tripura Health and Family Welfare Department have ordered all district magistrates to shut down any package drinking water operations that lack both a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license and a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. They have also been asked to submit a thorough report by December 3rd. The state government’s order followed the passing of an order based on a PIL by Chief Justice (acting) T Amarnath Goud and Justice SG Chattopadhyay.

“….Chief Secretary, Government of to delegate Tripura is directed to delegate all the District Collectors of the State of Tripura to Inspect the water manufacturing unit in their jurisdiction and get duly satisfied with regard to their license, hygienic conditions and whether the water is consumable or not by collecting the samples and also obtain a report from the concerned laboratory with regard to the standard of water and submit the same before this court by the next date of hearing. The said report along with photographs of inspection be placed before this court….The Chief Secretary, Government of Tripura in the form of affidavit providing details of the said inspection”, the order reads.

Following the High Court’s ruling, the state government asked all district magistrates strictly to shut down any manufacturing facilities for packaged drinking water that do not own an FSSAI license and a BIS certification.

The Chief Secretary of the Government of Tripura has requested to assign all of the District Collectors of the State of Tripura the responsibility of inspecting the water manufacturing unit within their purview and submitting a report in accordance with the High Court’s directive in the aforementioned case.

“You are now required to shut down any packaging drinking water manufacturing facilities that lack both an FSSAI license and a BIS certification. By December 3, 2022, the office of the Directorate of Family Welfare & P.M., Govt. of Tripura, Agartala, must receive the action taken report (ATR), in accordance with the format, for transmission to the Honourable High Court of Tripura,” order read by the state Government.

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 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. 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.