FSSAI full form stands for Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. FSSAI was established to set scientifically grounded criteria for food products and to oversee their production, storage, distribution, sale, and importation. It is done to ensure the equal distribution of safe and nutritious food for human consumption all over India. It is an independent body formed under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
FSSAI plays an important role in setting the regulations for food safety standards and guidelines. It also spreads awareness regarding food safety and food standards. It also grants FSSAI food safety licenses and certification for food businesses. To get recruited under FSSAI, one must hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institute and at least one year PG Diploma in Computer Application or Information Technology.
The inception of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) occurred through the Food Safety and Standard Act of 2006. The Authority merged multiple past acts and commands previously responsible for handling food-related matters across different Ministries and Departments. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government Of India is the Administrative Ministry for implementing FSSAI. Several other laws come under FSS (Food Safety and Standard Act) along with FSSAI, such as the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954, Fruit Products Order, 1955, Meat Food Products Order,1973; Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947, Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation)Order 1988, Solvent Extracted Oil, De- Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967, Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 etc.
The main objective of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) is to solve the ever-growing problem of Food adulteration and mixing of additives ever since the food industry started playing a vital role in the country’s economy. FSSAI certainly has other purposes, like establishing mechanisms and guidelines for mandating certification bodies involved in certifying food safety and management systems for food businesses and setting out the guidelines for promoting laboratories and notifying them once promoted. The main objective of this act is to protect consumer interests and rights by looking into matters like unfair trade practices, false or misleading advertisements, and adulterations and to look upon the consumer’s rights.
The FSSAI has its headquarters in Delhi. The Authority also has six offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai. The structure of FSSAI is broken down into 8 parts. Starting with the FSSAI Authority then the Central Advisory Committee, Scientific Panels and Committees, Executive Management, Regional Offices, State Food Safety Authorities, Licensing and Enforcement Divisions, and finally Technical Support Units. The food comprises 22 members representing various Ministries and Departments such as Agriculture, Commerce, Consumer affairs etc., with a minimum composition of one-third of the members being women.
The chairperson, whom the Central Government appoints, heads FSSAI. The CEO of FSSAI handles implementing the decisions and policies of FSSAI. It ensures effective cooperation among different departments. The Chief Executive Officer manages day-to-day operations, the Scientific Committee provides scientific advice, and the Central Advisory Committee offers policy guidelines. The Scientific Panel searches deeper into the specific scientific areas of expertise. State Food Safety Authority implements FSSAI regulations and standards within their respective states. Regional offices ensure coordination. Food safety Officers play a crucial role in ensuring the obeying of food safety regulations, sometimes paying surprise visits to locations responsible for distributing or feeding a large crowd.
1. To offer accurate stats and technical assistance to the Central and State Governments in matters related to forming policies and regulations in areas that directly or indirectly impact food safety and nutrition.
2. To facilitate, coordinate, and provide guidance for developing risk assessment methodologies while also overseeing and communicating health and nutritional risk findings related to food to both the Central and State Governments and the Food Safety Commissioner.
3. To implement measures to guarantee that the public, consumers, concerned stakeholders, and local panchayats receive prompt, trustworthy, impartial, and all-encompassing information through suitable methods and channels.
4. To foster collaborations in the efforts related to the food standards conducted by international-governmental and non-governmental organizations.
5. To promote awareness among local people regarding health and Hygiene.
The state authority provides the state license for food business establishments with a daily production capacity of up to 2 metric tons or an annual turnover ranging from INR 12 lakhs to 20 crores. The annual application fee for an FSSAI State License is Rs. 2000/-
Monitoring and surveillance of food quality is another important responsibility of FSSAI.
The Authority regularly conducts inspections and sampling of food products. It ensures that people are following the prescribed standards. Under Section 29 (3) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, “the Food Authority shall maintain a system of control and other activities as appropriate to the circumstances, including public communication on food safety and risk, food safety surveillance and other monitoring activities covering all stages of the food business.
” Taking this into consideration, FSSAI has prepared a general surveillance plan, which is being issued to states and Union Territories to conduct both regular and surprise surveillance in time-bound manners. FSSAI is actively involved in enforcement and supervising activities. It has the Authority to take action against food businesses that are not following the rules and regulations set down by FSSAI, including penalties. FSSAI values customer’s interests and rights and protects them from hazardous adulteration in consumable substances.
There are different types of FSSAI registration and licenses in India based on the properties and scale of food businesses. The Basic FSSAI registration is applicable to small scale sellers, street food vendors or home cooks or bakers. The State FSSAI license is required for medium scale businesses with an annual turnover ranging from 12 lakhs to 20 crore INR. The Central FSSAI license is for large-scale food manufacturers, importers, exporters or big food chains with multiple outlets functioning in more than one state, with their annual turnover exceeding 20 crore INR. To get a license, one must submit a large scale of documents. A duly filed and signed application form, pass-port size photo, proof of property ownership, address proof, business address proof, food safety management system plan and many more.
Although it is the last step in food production, food testing is paramount. It is an important procedure essential for ensuring that the food products are devoid of adulteration and evaluating their overall safety for consumption. FSSAI plays varied roles in establishing a robust laboratory network in India, by listing down standards, providing guidelines, giving licenses, monitoring performances, and ultimately shielding the health and well-being of the consumers against any hazardous causes. Laboratories pursuing accreditation and recognition must pass strict evaluations and show dedication to quality and precision in testing.
FSSAI’s utmost priority is ensuring food safety by rigorously assessing and implementing strict hygiene standards in food service establishments through third-party audits and inspections. Introducing Clean Street Food Hubs has elevated consumers’ perception of “safe” and “Clean” street food. In addition, FSSAI has established tools for grievance redressal mechanisms and consumer helpline services. Registered individuals can submit their complaints via the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution’s National Consumer Helpline portal. To File a complaint online, users are required to complete the registration process on the portal. The portal allows users to track the status of complaints and provides tips to enhance consumer awareness.
To summarize the above-written article, the FSSAI is a government organization that works for the benefit of consumer’s interests and health. It invigilates matters regarding food adulteration or misleading or defrauding customers. Their rules and regulations are very impactful regarding the well-being and safety of the people of our country, safeguarding consumers, and promoting healthy food practices.
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Basic registration starts from Rs 3500/-, State License starts from Rs. 10000/- and central license starts from Rs. 17000/-.
Complete the Application form, provide the documents required, pay the fees, submit the application. In some cases, inspection of the premises can be conducted. The entire procedure can be done online except the inspection. After receiving the license, it must be displayed to make it easily visible to the consumers.
FSSAI promotes public health and protects consumers from substandard and adulterated food.
The validity of a license depends upon the type of license. The validity for a basic registration is for 1-5 years, State license is generally issued for a minimum of 1 year and can go up to 5 years.
Visual inspection means an inspection from the authorized inspector.
Shri Ganji Kamala V Rao is the Current CEO of FSSAI.
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