Importers have more red tape to contend with as a recent notification from the Food Safety & Security Authority of India requires all “Food Business Operators” to apply for an FBO License. This means after Indian Customs passes the bill of entry, importers are required to obtain an NOC or Non-Objection Certificate from FSSAI. This could take up to 10 days while FSSAI tests the consignment during which demurrage and other costs at the port continue to be charged. Stake holders in the trade have made a representation to FSSAI through CIABC to allow established brands that are regularly imported to be tested once a year or once in six months only.
To make matters more complicated, the FSSAI notification also requires the following information be printed on each label:
1. Name of importer
2. Date of Manufacture which in the official notification reads thus:
The date of manufacture will be given in date, month and year format on sticker in addition to the Date of Manufacture in Julian format already present in the labels along with rectifiable labeling requirements viz. Name and address of the importer and vegetarian and non vegetarian logo. The sticker should be pasted without masking the original Date of Manufacture in Julian format present in the labels.
3. Batch Number. Consignments without an appropriate prefix such as Lot Number or Lot/ Code Number, etc, in accordance with FSSAI Standards Regulations 2011, will have to be verified by an authorized officer of FSSAI. The officer will check relevant documents from the manufacturer or exporter to satisfy himself that the labels are valid in all respects.