FSSAI has issued an Advisory dated 28 August, 2021 related to guidelines for laboratories performing multiple roles such as primary and referral food testing laboratory.
FSSAI has issued this advisory to bring to the attention of all concerned that some of the FSSAI notified laboratories perform dual roles which means that one particular laboratory is notified both as a Primary and Referral laboratory under section 43.1 and 43.2 of the FSS Act 2006.
In this regard the FSSAI has clarified that a food testing laboratory can either perform the function of a Primary Laboratory or a Referral Laboratory for a single sample. This means that if a laboratory has tested a sample as a Primary Laboratory, then the appeal against the test results of that particular sample will not be entertained by the same laboratory, irrespective of the fact that the same laboratory is playing the role of a Referral laboratory as well. The same sample will invariably be sent to another Referral Laboratory as per testing capability and scope of that Referral Laboratory.
FSSAI has communicated this clarification to all concerned Regional Directors, Designated Officers, Authorised Officers and Food Safety Officers so as to avoid any confusion or anomalies.
About Food Testing Laboratories
As is well known to all stakeholders in the food industry, FSSAI recognizes and notifies NABL accredited food testing laboratories in the following categories:
- Primary food testing laboratories
- Referral food laboratories
- Reference food laboratories
1. Primary Food Laboratories: The Food Authority notifies food laboratories and research institutions accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories or any other accreditation agency for the purposes of carrying out analysis of samples through food analysts. Presently there are 190 notified food testing laboratories.
2. Referral food laboratories: The Food Authority recognizes referral food laboratories for the purposes of carrying out analysis of appeal samples. Presently there are 19 referral food laboratories.
3. National Reference Laboratories: FSSAI has recognised National Reference laboratory (NRL) to set up a country wide standard for routine procedures, validation of such standard procedure / testing methods, development of new methods and ensuring proficiency in testing across all the food laboratories with special reference to the risks or food categories. Either a primary food laboratory or a referral food laboratory can be considered for declaration as an NRL. Presently there are 12 NRLs and 2 ANRLs.