A batch number or code number or lot number is a mark of identification by which the food can be traced in the manufacture and identified in the distribution, shall be given on the label.
All the packages of food product having the same batch number or code number are considered to be having the same substance of the same nature, quality and same in all respect.
In case there is any consumer complaint about any package of food product, then the first step of investigation is to find out the Batch no/ Lot no of that food package and the food packages having the same batch/lot no are examined with respect to the complaint.Either following the consumer complaint or otherwise,if the food business operator considers or has reasons to believe that a food which he has processed, manufactured or distributed is not in compliance with the FSS Act, or the rules or regulations, he shall immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the food in question from the market and consumers indicating reasons for its withdrawal and inform the concerned competent authorities .
In case, if the regulator is suspicious about the quality of any packaged food ,then he takes the sample of the packaged food product of the particular Batch or Lot No. for its quality check.He takes the required number of the food packagings having the same batch/ lot number and sends it for analysis. In case of any violation in the sample of food packages the entire quantity of the same batch or lot is considered to be in violation of the food laws . The legal action may be initiated against the offenders and/ or the manufacturer or the processor may be directed that the entire quantity of the particular Batch or Lot No is traced and the food be recalled.
“Recall” means action taken to remove a marketed food product from distribution, sale and consumption that may pose a safety hazard to consumers and the procedure followed for the same is called food recall procedure.
When the circumstances require for Food Recall , it is the responsibility of every food business operator to inform the competent authorities of the action taken and to follow such conditions and guidelines relating to food recall procedures as the Food Authority may specify by regulations. In this regard the Food Authority has yet to notify the regulation, however draft regulation for Food
Recall Procedure has appeared on the FSSAI website for public objections and suggestions.
From the Food Business Operator point of view, it is better, if smaller quantity of the food product is processed in one lot.
The Food Business Operator may note that the packages containing bread and milk including sterilised milk are not required to mention Batch/Code/Lot No.
A food has to bear a label of lot/batch/code from the time of its raw shape like at farm level till it becomes a final product for sale. Information like date of harvest, farm identification and who handles the produce from grower to receiver, scanning a product at the point of picking or loading, the recognition through batch/code/lot number is required to be maintained to track the culprit in cases of complaints.
Every food business operator has to define & mention Batch, Lot, Code number on all the containers of the product, to be referred under incidents of examination on suspicion by the regulatory body or on action upon consumer complaints.
PS – This is the module 9 of the 15 modules free e-course on food labeling in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act. Advancing towards the next module, we would provide valuable information regarding “Instructions for use” on food labels.
Once you register and subscribe to the course, we will send you the first module on the third day from the registration and the subsequent modules will be sent in the similar pattern i.e. with a gap of two days.