Through an order issued on 25 July 2018 the FSSAI has brought to the notice that the import of organic foods under the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017 have been notified under the provisions of Section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 in the Gazette of India on 29 December 2017. All Food Business Operators were required to comply with the provisions of these regulations by 1 July 2018.
All food products imported into India and which claim to be organic must comply with the applicable provisions laid down in the FSS Act, 2006 and regulations made thereunder in addition to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017
FSSAI had issued directions dated 29 June 2017, wherein it had been decided to allow the use of non-detachable stickers in respect of FSSAI’s organic logo as the requirement of the FSSAI logo is required under regulation 5 (1) of the FSS (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 up to 30 September 2018
Regulation 5 (1) is about Labelling. It says that labeling on the package of organic foods shall convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product. Such a product may carry a certification or quality assurance mark of one of the systems like
- National Programme for Organic Foods (NPOP)
- Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS- India)
- Any other system or standards as may be notified by the Food Authority from time to time
- In addition, it must also have the FSSAI organic food logo.
This direction also states that in case the imported food consignment does not comply with the above-mentioned regulations and instructions, then it will be rejected and the importer/CHA shall be advised to follow the due procedure of Review Application as stated in Chapter XI of FSS (Import) Regulations 2017. However, the consignments claimed as organic food items, which were exported from other countries before 01 July 2018, but which reached India after 1 July 2018 will be given relaxation for compliance to the FSS (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017
Chapter XI of the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations 2017
Reviewable orders – Any Food Importer, aggrieved by one or more of the following orders of the Authorised Officer, may file a review application to the Review Officer ―
- rejecting the clearance of the imported articles of food for noncompliance of the conditions specified in regulation 6 of these Regulations
- any order directing the Food Importer to rectify the labeling of the articles of food
- order of rejection issued on receipt of a non-conformance report from Food Analyst
The review application shall be in FORM-6
- It will be accompanied by such fee as may be specified by the Food Authority from time to time
- The review application shall be presented to the Review Officer along with the required documents within fifteen working days from the date of receipt of the report of rejection
- The Review Officer may admit a review application after the expiry of the said period for an extended period of seven working days if he is satisfied that the Food Importer had sufficient cause for not presenting it within that period.
The Review Officer
- shall consider the facts and dispose of the review application in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations made thereunder and orders or notifications issued by the Food Authority from time to time
- On receipt of the completed application for review along with all documents, the Review Officer, if he deems fit may fix the date, time and venue of hearing the representation of the Food Importer
- The Food Importer, either in person or by a representative, and the authorised Officer, either in person or through an authorised representative, shall have the right to be heard at the hearing of the review application
- If either the Food Importer or the Authorised Officer or their authorized representative fails to appear themselves at the hearing of the review application, the Review officer may proceed to decide the review on merits
- The Review Officer shall dispose of the review application within a period of seven days, after filing of the review application by the Food importer and the reply of the Authorised Officer thereof:Provided that the Review Officer may allow submission of further evidence or material, if he deems necessary and also forward a part of the sample for analysis to the referral laboratory
- The Review Officer may, before disposing off any review application, make such further inquiry as he may think fit or direct the authorised officer to make such further enquiry and report the result of the same
- The Review Officer may, at the time of hearing of the review application, go into any ground not specified in the grounds for review, if the review officer is satisfied that the omission of that ground was not wilful or unreasonable
- The order of the Review Officer disposing off the review application shall be in writing and shall state the points for determination, the decision thereon and the reasons for such decision
- On the disposal of the review application, the Review Officer shall communicate the order passed in the review application to the FoodImporter, customs, and the Authorised Officer
The food importer may file a second appeal against the order of the review officer to the chief executive officer, food safety and standard authority of India, within fifteen days from the date on which the review order is received.