Through its directions dated 13 December 2017 the FSSAI has operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Import) First Amendment Regulation 2017. The Food Import regulations had been framed by the FSSAI and were approved by the Food Authority at its meeting on 25 May, 2017. The regulations were notified in the official Gazette on 30 November, 2017 and were uploaded on the FSSAI websites for comments and suggestions.
Since the finalisation of the Import regulations is likely to take some time the FSSAI has decided to operationalize the FSS (Import) First Amendment Regulations with immediate effect from 6 December, 2017. The food importers will now have to ensure that they are in compliance of the food import regulation as well as the following two important points in the first amendment regulation 2017.
The first important amendment that food importers will have to adhere to is about shelf life at the time of import. They will have to ensure that any article of food that is imported must have a valid shelf life of not less than 60% or three months before expiry, whichever is less, at the time of import or the customs will not clear the consignment.
This means that from henceforth no item of food will get custom clearance unless they have the appropriate shelf life as mentioned above. This amendment has brought in more clarity and transparency for the food importer as well as the customs department about food import clearance.
Also under risk based framework the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India shall henceforth profile the Importer, custom house agent, manufacturer of the imported product, imported product, country of origin, source country of the consignment, port of entry, history of compliance and any other parameters as it deems fit for assessing the risk associated with the commodity.
Therefore, the second important amendment is related to risk amendment and here the food importer will have to submit a certificate of sanitary export from authorised agencies in the exporting countries for those categories of foods as may be specified by the Food Authority from time to time.
With the operationalization of the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations 2017 the process of food import, as well as the mandatory requirements for food imports into the country have been clarified and doubts of food importers addressed.