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FSSAI Tightens Rules for Foreign Companies Bringing Food Products in India

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Food under inspection in Lab

The FSSAI has announced a new regulatory framework for foreign facilities that transport food to India in order to ensure the safe import of food products.

Foreign food manufacturing facilities that produce certain kinds of products for export to India will be required to register with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and may be subjected to inspection by Indian food safety officials, according to the regulations. From June 1, the Food Safety and Standards (Import) First Amendment Regulations, 2021, will take effect.

International food safety authorities, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, follow similar processes.

Registration Required

According to the FSSAI, depending on its risk assessment, it would designate the types of food items for which multinational factories must register with the regulator from time to time.

"Foreign food production establishments falling under such categories that wish to export such articles of food to India must register with the Food Authority before doing so," the regulation announcement continued.

The registration is for a period of two years. "If required, foreign food manufacturing facilities may be inspected... Officials from FSSAI and relevant ministries, organizations, departments, or recognized auditing agencies shall be nominated by the Food Authority for the purpose of inspection of foreign food manufacturing facilities," the notification added.

Even after these industrial facilities have gained registration, an inspection can be performed.

The FSSAI stated that foreign food production facilities that do not comply with food safety laws may have their registrations revoked or suspended. After a year of consultation with industry stakeholders, the regulations have been published.

Increased Compliance

"We look forward to reading the fine print as the legislation indicates that FSSAI would publish a list of high-risk products from time to time," said Amit Lohani, Founder-Director, Forum of Indian Importers. FIFI members work hard to provide Indian consumers with food safety-compliant goods and are aware of the motivation behind this action. We hope, however, that this does not result in a non-tariff trade barrier, and that imported goods are not subject to a different set of requirements than products of similar categories created in India."

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