‘Imports’ means bringing into India any article of food by land, sea or air.
Fssai has the mandate to regulate import of food into the country and ensure that it is safe and wholesome for human consumption. As per section 25 of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, all imports articles of food are subject to the provisions of the Act. It stipulates that no person shall import into India any article of food in contravention of the Act or any rules and regulations made thereunder. Exercising the power of the Act, the Central Government on the recommendation of the Food Authority notified the FSS (Import) Regulation, 2017 on 9th March’2017.
Under the Food Safety and Standards Act’ 2006 every Food Business Operator (Importer) is required to take Fssai License to commence Import Food Business. For obtaining Food import License, the applicant/prospective importer requires a valid Import Export Code (IEC) issued by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). For detailed procedure to obtaining Import License click on procedure to obtain Fssai License.
Section 25 of the Food Safety & Standard Act, 2006, stipulates that all imports of articles of food are subject to the provisions of the Act. The procedure and requirements for import of food articles are regulated by FSS (Import) Regulations.
FSSAI has its Authorized Officers at 6 locations namely Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Tuticorin covering 21 points of entries for ensuring compliance to the provisions of FSSA Act, 2006 and Regulations made there under. Further, there are another 396 locations(As per Notification dated 03/05/2018) throughout the country where Customs officials have been notified as Authorized Officers by FSSAI.
In case of imported packaged food consignments, the following special dispensation on labeling shall be allowed for the rectifiable labeling deficiencies at the custom bound warehouse by affixing a single non detachable sticker or by any other non detachable method next to the principle display panel namely:―
FSSAI has an online system for clearance of food imports (Food Import Clearance System-FICS), which is seamlessly integrated with the Customs ICE-GATE under SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade). Selective sampling & testing of food articles on the basis of risk profiling done by FSSAI is implemented at the Customs ICE-GATE.
The importer and the Customs Handling Agent (CHA) have to apply online for the clearance of consignments and obtain the NOC. First they have to register online at the FSSAI Food Import Clearance System. There is a separate for an importer and CHA which they have to fill up according to the information required by FSSAI. Importers need to provide their IECODE and also have to fill out the other information on the registration form.
Once an application is made in the Food Import Clearance System with documents, an FSSAI Officer will verify the documents, request more information if required. Once the application is accepted, the Importer/CHA will be requested to deposit fees for FSSAI clearance based on the number of samples. If they wish to view their application status then they can view that on the homepage itself. Since it is an internet based system it can be accessed any time by the importers and CHA by logging in with their individual user ID and passwords.
The food articles when referred to FSSAI for clearance by the Customs Authorities are subjected to scrutiny of documents, visual inspection, sampling and testing in order to determine whether or not they conform to the safety and quality standards established and laid down under various Food Safety and Standards Regulations. If sample is found conforming then No Objection Certificate (NOC) is generated and if not conforming, then Non-Conforming Report (NCR) is generated.
Importer can file review application with grounds of appeal in Form-6 to Director (Imports) against Non-Conforming Report issued by Authorized Officer. If Importer is not satisfied with the decision of first review, then he can file second review application with grounds of appeal in Form-6 of FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 to CEO, FSSAI.
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