Food Authority and Food Business Community Share Same Platform
The National Restaurant Association of India recently organized a special event in Delhi on July 8, 2014 at PHD House. The participants, included eminent officials of FSSAI, executives of recognized testing laboratories and the restaurant owners put forward their views on “Food Safety and Standards Act – Implementation and Challenges for the Restaurant Industry.” Top Executives from leading restaurant chains like McDonalds, Lavazza, Golden Dragon, Bercos & others were also present as active participants at the event.
The main objective of this special event was to bring the Food Authority and the food business community together on a single platform so as to discuss the implementation of the regulations in a conducive and business friendly environment.
Dr. Meenakshi Singh Scientist (Standards) opined that the science based standards that have been incorporated into the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 were in harmony with the Codex Standards. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Assistant Director (Enforcement) spoke about the sampling procedures being practiced by the food authority.
There was a buzz of approval from the food business community when Mr. D. K. Samantaray, CEO (FSSAI) mentioned that the list of standardized products would be increased to 11000 products from the existing list of Approx. 370 standardized products.
Food Safety Helpline was one of the sponsors of this special event and its founder, Dr. Saurabh Arora, in his address spoke on the need for awareness about the new and evolving Act among all stakeholders. As the Executive Director of Arbro and leader of the analytical division & a contract research organization, Dr. Saurabh Arora emphasized the importance of testing of food products for microbiological and chemical testing so that foods tested were within the prescribed parameters and this he said was the key in maintaining product quality which would ultimately ensure food safety for the consumer.
The food business community feels that the ambiguity over the licensing criteria must be made clearer as there were doubts about whether applicants can apply for more than one year license term as per the regulations of the Act. Voices were also raised about the difficulty in understanding the FSSAI online application procedure for registration and license.
The restaurant industry also asked the officials to take up the matter of a single license for business chains instead of a multi-license policy for each location of the same business. An top official from FSSAI replied by saying that the requirements of the food act like a FSMS plan which is an important component is linked to a particular location & process, will not be possible under one license. The top official further said that it would be inconvenient for the food business operators in case if there is any problems in the sample analysis from the food authorities and under the scenario of the single license for multiple units, the action may apply for all the units. The matter of different documentation required for the state license in different states was also brought to the notice of the Food Authority.
Mr. Raghu Guda from the National Institute of Smart Government (NISG) discussed in detail the online procedure while applying for the license/registration with the audience. Mr. K. K. Jindal, Commissioner of Food Safety, Delhi and Mr. Samir Kuckreja, President NRAI were also present at the event.