The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a new regulation under which food items with less than 60 per cent shelf life will not be allowed to enter the Indian market. The Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation 2017 has been notified by FSSAI, making it compulsory for importers to obtain a license.
Shelf life means the period between the date of manufacture and the ‘best before’ or ‘date of expiry’, whichever is earlier as printed on the label, FSSAI said. It has specified that no person shall import any food article without an import license from the Central Licensing Authority, in accordance with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
FSSAI said it has brought the regulation with an aim to streamline the process of clearance of imported food in an efficient and transparent manner.
The regulation includes provisions related to licensing of food importer; clearance of imported food by the Food Authority; and storage, inspection and sampling of imported food. Besides, the new regulation has provisions for laboratory analysis of samples of imported food, prohibition and restriction on food imports, and amenable food labelling provision for ease of trade.
FSSAI has further said that its officials at the customs can reject consignments that do not comply with the provisions of Labeling and Packaging Regulations, 2011, on the basis of visual inspection, without drawing any sample.
The rules will not apply to individuals bringing food items for personal use, provided that the value of such products does not exceed the amount allowed by customs from time to time.