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Apply for product approval before seeking import licence, FBOs advised
Thursday, 16 August, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Archana Aroor, Mumbai
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory notification on applying for product approval before seeking a licence to import or manufacture foods.

According to the Authority, the product approval would be based on categories prescribed by FSSAI in the Indian Food Codes as on June 25, 2012.

The notification explained that applications from manufacturers and importers of products and ingredients could be sent for approval in format that has been prescribed with the fee of Rs 25,000 payable to the FSSAI.

Other specifications include submission of documents such as notarised Rs 100 stamp paper affidavit, copy of the label and safety data, according to a source from FSSAI.

He also stated that provisional NOC (no objection certificate) would be issued for a year in case of existing licence holders or importers of proprietary food products and ingredients that had been proven safe for human consumption in other countries.

However, products and ingredients that were absolutely new and never been used in any country and whose safety assessment had not been carried out yet would not be issued provisional NOC.

The applications pertaining to such products and ingredients would be forwarded to the scientific panel concerned and the committee eventually.

Not only would this method ensure streamlining of the entire product approval process, but it would also simplify and quicken the process. “If all the documents are in place as per specifications, the process will be completed in a week’s time,” pointed out the source.

Once the process is completed, the Central or the state licensing officer would then issue the licence to the manufacturer on the basis of the turnover of the company and also import licence would be issued by the Central designated officer.

However, the Authority has made it clear that manufacturers of traditional food and local cuisine like atta, suji, dal savouries, samosa, bhujia, and gulab-jamun, which are commonly used by consumers need not apply for product approval as proprietary food.

In this regard, D V Malhan, executive director, All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA), confirmed in a chat over telephone, “The manufacturers of traditional foods had an objection and the matter was settled in the presence of K Chandramouli, chairman, FSSAI, recently.”

Malhan added that these foods have been there in our country for ages and hence they have not been mentioned in the new regulation.
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