Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) has been notified that several FSSAI notified laboratories are not adhering to the time limit specified for testing of regulatory samples as per FSS Act, 2006 and Rules thereon. The notified laboratories of FSSAI have been advised to comply with the timelines especially for regulatory samples as mentioned below;
(i) Domestic Regulatory samples: The Food Analyst shall issue the signed report within 14 days of the receipt of the article of food for analysis as per the format specified under FSS (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, 2011. Provided that, in case the sample cannot be analyzed within 14 days of its receipt, the Food Analyst shall inform the Designated Officer and the Commissioner of Food Safety giving reasons and specifying the time to be taken for analysis.
Further, in case of appeal, Referral laboratory shall issue the report signed by the Director within 14 working days of receipt of sample as per the format specified under FSS (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, 2011. Provided that, in case the sample cannot be analysed within 14 working days of its receipt, the Referral laboratory shall inform the Designated Officer and the Commissioner of Food Safety giving reasons and specifying the time to be taken for analysis.
(ii) Import: Notified laboratory or Referral laboratory, as the case may be, shall provide the laboratory analysis report as per the format specified under FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 within five days from the date of receipt of the sample. If the sample cannot be tested by the laboratory within the specified time, it shall state the reasons for the same in writing to the Authorised Officer.
The apex body of food safety has clarified that when a notified laboratory performs dual roles (i.e both as Primary and Referral laboratory), such laboratory can either function as a Primary laboratory or a Referral laboratory for a single sample.
For instance, 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 the testing capability and scope of that Referral laboratory.
FSSAI has advised all the notified laboratories to strictly comply with the directions or else no laxity will be tolerated.