All food business operators in India are to be covered under mandatory guidelines of FSSAI irrespective of their location and scale of operations. The idea had been mooted by FSSAI under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Deadlines were fixed earlier but due to administrative reasons the deadlines were extended. The current deadline was fixed for 4 February 2014. This regulation is applicable at all levels so the task became almost insurmountable as there was a general lack of awareness at all levels thus calling for an extension of the deadline once again.
Several voluntary organizations and helplines have contributed to the spread of awareness of the requirements of the act. Categories of food business operators requiring state and central licences have been adequately covered under the new guidelines. However, the awareness of requirements of the act proved to be a Herculean task. Majority of Food Business Operators, excluding big players, were not aware of the requirements for licensing and registration let alone the heavy punitive fines for non-adherence to the provisions of the act.
Keeping the magnitude of the task in mind FSSAI has once more extended last date for licensing and registration by a further six months,i.e. till 4 August 2014. The extension has been welcomed by all food business operators and sectors associated with the food industry such as FHRAI. Even small-scale operators and street vendor have welcomed the extension. It will provide them required time to understand the provisions and implications of the act and proceed for licensing or registration.