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Traders, restaurant owners and distributors exempt from annual returns
Monday, 03 June, 2013, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Akshay Kalbag, Mumbai
Traders, restaurant owners and distributors have been excluded from filing annual returns by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country's apex food regulator. Their exclusion is a reprieve, because earlier, all licensed food business operators (FBOs) with an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh and above were directed to submit their annual returns in the prescribed format (Form D-1) by May 31. Failure to do so would result in a fine of Rs 100 per day being slapped on them.

Ajit Setiya, president, Poona Merchants' Chamber, said, “Since the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, came into effect in August 2011, traders have been facing a host of problems. Apart from filing annual returns, they have had to provide information about each of the goods they deal in, the weight of each good, and its purchase and sales values. Only the owners of milk businesses have been asked to submit half-yearly returns in the format prescribed in Form D-2.”

Following agriculture minister Sharad Pawar's meeting with FSSAI officials in March 2013, the food regulators decided to make certain amendments to resolve the issue. According to Setiya, FSSAI's recent decision was a fall-out of the traders' struggle. “FSSAI conveyed the same to us on May 31, 2013,” said Shashikant Kekare, joint commisioner (food), FDA, Pune, adding that now only food manufacturers, packers, repackers, labellers and relabellers would have to file the annual returns.

Food manufacturers are persons engaged in the business of manufacturing any article of food for sale and also include those who obtain such articles from other persons, pack and label it for sale or only label it for such purposes. Pune has over 9,000 licensed FBOs with an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakh and above. They include food manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, recyclers, processors, transporters, restaurants, hotels and catering business operators.
 
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