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Amid COVID-19, Testing Services by Laboratories are ‘Essential Services’, Says FSSAI

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni
Testing Services by Laboratories are 'Essential Services'
Testing Services by Laboratories are 'Essential Services'

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, FSSAI clearly said that food testing and import clearance of food items are necessary.

FSSAI said that it has taken immediate steps to ensure the uninterrupted food supply and the continuity of food business operations during the current COVID-19 situation.

Along with this, FSSAI has written to all the states to make sure that there is no disruption of food supply chain in the present curfews and lockdowns situation in the country, and the compliance requirements are not an obstruction for the operation of any food business, said the regulator in a statement.

Import Clearance and Testing are Essential Services

And FSSAI repeatedly emphasized that import clearances of food items and testing services by FSSAI’s laboratories (public and private) are ‘essential services’.

For the quick expansion of logistic supply chains, warehouses, retail outlets, catering, and food service establishments, the food regulator has also issued direction to allow Food Business Operators other than manufacturers to temporarily operate their businesses on the basis of a valid receipt of FSSAI license/ registration application.

Complete Application on FoSCoS

And new businesses can also start operating after they successfully file a complete application on FoSCoS. This is a provisional relief measure; the license/registration will need to be secured before the expiry of the relaxation.

And manufacturers can increase their capacity on the basis of a valid receipt of FSSAI licence/registration.

Required Inspections

And FSSAI said, “routine inspections are not required except in the high-risk products including milk and meat. And at the same time, food safety authorities can conduct inspections in case of select cases on the basis of risk profiling or in case of food emergency/ incidents and complaints. And wherever possible, inspections can be done by e-inspection. 

Annual Return Deadline Extended

FSSAI said, “The deadline for returns for 2020-21 has been extended till June 2021. No penalty shall be payable for the late filing of application for renewal of licenses. These measures are until and shall cease with effect from 30 June, irrespective of the status of lockdown.”

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