Thursday, May 24, 2018


BCIC meet looks at how F&B industry still grappling with adherence to FSSA
Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The food & beverage industry is still grappling with adherence to the Food Safety & Standards Act (FSSA). From petty vendors to food business operators who are looking to follow the regulations, all are confounded with ambiguity about appropriate documentation procedures among other issues.

All this and more with regard to the FSSA were the key topics taken up at a seminar on Demystifying Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), here on Friday.

A panel of experts from the industry and the Karnataka Public Health Institute deliberated on the need to adhere to food standards as safety in consumption was paramount.

In his opening address, Murali Ganesan, chairman, agro & food processing, expert committee, BCIC, said that the success of any law was its awareness and compliance. The new Act being so vast, it was difficult to understand and implement.

Representing the food processing industry, Chitranjan Dar, divisional CEO, ITC Foods, said that the FSSA itself was a big transformation for the industry. From testing of food, water, nutritional labels to quality, proper documentation and intensive training were all big tasks before the industry. The law is mandated and now we need to adhere to it in total. The government and the industry need to comprehend each other and ensure that with least aversion, the regulations are accepted.

Dr Sreenivas Gowda, joint director, Public Health Institute, Government of Karnataka, said that FSSA was a comprehensive Act to ensure safety and good health. Increasing food contamination was a major concern and cause of many diseases. Over one-and-a-half decades ago, the country had been making efforts to put together the licensing and registration process.

"With the FSSA enforced, consumers should be confident to buy products. It is a fact that the regulatory process is cumbersome. There is need for education to understand the nitty-gritty of the law. Therefore it is not just that the industry needs training but the government officials who will be responsible to audit the process, issue licences and penalise the violators. This is where the industry and government should work together to maximise the benefits of the law," said Dr Gowda.

In a presentation on the 'Changes, Challenges and Way Ahead for New Food Regulations including Licensing,' K K Joshi, manager, regulatory affairs, ITC Foods, said that FSSA emphasised on gradual shift from regulatory regime to self compliance. The industry wanted just a single window to deal with all the food regulations. It would take some months for the entire Act to be in place. Efforts were already on to develop procedures for establishment and working of adjudicating officers and food safety tribunals.

Providing a peek in the Schedule IV guidelines of Food Safety & Standards Regulations, Ashwin Bhadri, head, business relations, Equinox Labs, said that the highlights of the law focussed on proper documentation and maintenance of several records to make food recall and traceability simpler. In this regard, it was vital for petty vendors and food business operators to devise a safety management plan, conduct audits on hygiene, inspect vendors and carry out medical check-ups of food-handlers.

The experts concluded that the FSSAI enactment was an important step forward and its implementation should not be seen as a burden rather than an improvement of systems.
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