To make it easy for importers to clear imported food, FSSAI has developed Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) with the aim of providing online Food Import Clearance at all FSSAI ports. However, all food importers must ensure that they have the proper documents as they will be needed to be uploaded with the online application. The procedure is simple and the steps to be followed are clearly defined.
Once the consignment has arrived the importer or the authorized CHA needs to file an application with Department of Customs for clearance of consignment. After the Bill of Entry has been generated and on receiving the inspection order from Department of Customs the importer/ CHA can file an application in the Food Import Clearance System (FICS) of FSSAI to obtain the ‘No Objection Certificate’.
Along with the online application, you (FBO) will have to upload all the compulsory documents like
- IE Code issued by the DGFT;
- A license issued under FSS Act 2006;
- Product Approval (if required) from the Food Authority;
- Bill of Entry;
- Examination Order generated by the EDI system of Customs, therein requiring NOC from the FSSAI.
You may be required to upload certain other documents which are product specific so have those on hand before going online.
Once you have completed the online procedure and uploaded your documents they will be scrutinized and the Authorised Officer will verify that the import is not banned or restricted source of food. If all documents are in order then you will have to deposit the requisite fee according to the samples. You will just have to use the online payment gateway for making payment of fees.
This will be followed by the Inspection and Sampling Process where the date and time will be provided by the AO and a physical examination will be carried out. The products will be checked for FSS packaging and labeling compliance, fungal infestations, remaining shelf life. Two samples will be drawn by the Authorised Officer and one of the sealed samples will be sent for testing to a Notified Laboratory. The second Food Sample shall be stored in appropriate conditions for re-testing, if the need arises.
Once the report of the Notified Laboratory or the Referral Food Laboratory is obtained a No Objection Certificate/ Non-Conformance Certificate will be issued as per the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and the Regulations, whatever the case might be after sample testing.