What is FSSAI Import Clearance Procedure | Food Import Clearance Eligibility
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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued new rules for products importing from outside India, striving to deal with issues over the entry of low-grade products and simplify the process by creating shelf-life norms and relaxing labeling guidelines.
The main clause as per new rules is that no food article will be authorized to import unless it has a 60% shelf life remaining at the time of clearance from customs.
FSSAI said that the comprehensive regulations would facilitate ease of trade and also doing business while ensuring that the health of the consumers is not compromised by the company/business activities.
Key Highlights of FSSAI Import Clearance Procedure are
Licenses can be suspended in the event of conditions such as importing unsafe, banned or unhygienic foods and importing such foods for the purpose of re-packing and re-channeling and also in cases of not ensuing the requirements of the license.
- Food Items not having the compulsory 60% remaining shelf life at the time of clearance shall not be approved from the customs area.
- No FBO shall be permitted to import food items without an import license issued by central authorities. Food Business Operator (FBO)’s must possess an FSSAI license, a valid Import Export Code (IEC), issued by Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
- Revisable components of a food label such as
- name of the importer,
- Address of the importer
- and vegetarian / Non–vegetarian symbols,
- FSSAI logo,
must be attached by the importer/CHA in the customs bonded warehouse. These shall be put on the area next to the principal display panel in a non-detachable method.
- Consignments may get rejected after visual inspection by the FSSAI authorized officer, if found not abiding by the rules and standards of Labelling and Packaging Regulations, 2011
Situations Where FSSAI Import Clearance of Food Items by Food Authority is Not Required
- The food articles/ ingredients/ additives which are imported by the manufacturers/ processors/companies for their production of value added items for 100% exports
- Export of food items as per the Government orders and export declined/re-imported food for the purpose of re-export
- Consignments of food items/ ingredients/ additives imported by the companies/Manufacturers to be used by their subsidiary companies, and to be used for 100% export production
According to the authority, the new regulations – except the packaging and labeling requirements – will also be applied to export consignments from India that are not approved by foreign countries and returned.
Another important update is that importers will be permitted to attach a single, non-removable sticker to track labeling errors associated to the name and address of the importer, the FSSAI logo and license number and the symbols for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food products. The older rules didn’t allow such errors to be corrected.