FSSAI has issued a press release dated 3rd september, 2021 advising that use of dairy terms on the labels of plant based beverages and food items are not allowed under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 as encapsulated in its ‘General Standards for Milk and Milk Products’. The Food Business Operators will be given 15 days’ time to improve/ modify their labels, failing which enforcement action will be initiated against them.
Gist of the circular is given below:
The Food Regulator, in a recent order, has directed the State Food Safety Departments to investigate and identify specific instances for violation of the use of dairy terminology for non-dairy or plant based products by Food Business Operators (FBOs).
In case of any violation, FBOs may be granted 15 days’ time to suitably improve/modify their product labels and strictly comply with the relevant provisions of FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 before the Food Safety Departments take any enforcement action. This step will ensure an appropriate enforcement action against such defaulting FBOs as per the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006 and Rules/Regulations made thereunder.
As per the ‘General Standards for Milk and Milk Products’ under the ‘Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011’, use of any dairy term(s) for a product which is not milk/ a milk product or a composite milk product (e.g. plant based products / beverages) is prohibited and any such action is in contravention of the said Regulations. Further, the term ‘curd’ is also not considered a dairy term exclusively for such products, and has been associated with non-dairy products such as ‘soybean curd’ in our regulations which also is in consistency with the relevant Codex standards.
However, exceptions are permissible for usage of dairy terminology in the nomenclature of certain products like coconut milk, peanut butter etc. in reference to the internationally accepted principle that dairy terms were being traditionally used in their nomenclature and such products are not substitutes for milk or milk products.
Since, a lot of such products are sold through E-Commerce Food Business Operators (FBOs), FSSAI has also instructed all E-Commerce platforms to delist such products which are reported to be in contravention to the regulatory provisions related to the application of dairy ‘terms’ from their online platforms immediately. FSSAI has further directed that no such defaulting products listed on the online platforms are allowed for sale in the future as well.
FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has mandated vide its order dated 8th June, 2021 that with effect from 1st October, 2021 all food businesses shall mention their 14 digit FSSAI license no. or registration no. on all invoices/ bills/ receipts/ cash memo/ purchase invoices etc.
When 2 transaction documents are issued such as transport challan/ bill etc. then the FSSAI no. needs to be mentioned on both documents. The only exemption is e-way bill and other government documents which are system generated.
Already FSSAI no. is presently being displayed on packaged food labels but establishments such as restaurants, mithai stores, caterers, retail stores were out of this ambit. Now with this order all these food businesses are brought into consideration.
Displaying the license no. will enable customers to access more details about the food business from the FSSAI site or their mobile app. If the no. is not mentioned then it will tantamount to non compliance or even non registration.
The copy of notification can be found on FSSAI site.
Press Release of FSSAI dated 20th April, 2021 giving directions for facilitating food business during covid 19
To facilitate the continuity of food business operations during the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken immediate steps to ensure uninterrupted food services/supply during the current scenario.
FSSAI has reiterated and clarified that Import clearances of food items and testing services by FSSAI’s notified
laboratories (including both public and private laboratories) are Essential Services.
Directions, with immediate effect have been issued to:
- Allow FBOs, other than manufacturers, to temporarily operate their businesses on the basis of a valid receipt
of FSSAI license/ registration application having 17- digit Application Reference Number (ARN) generated
upon online application and fee payment on FoSCoS. This will enable quick expansion of logistic supply
chains, warehouses, retail outlets, catering, food service establishments etc. wherever required. New
businesses can start operating once they successfully file a complete application on FOSCOS. This is an
interim relief measure, the licence/ registration will need to be secured before the expiry of the relaxation.
- Manufacturers are allowed to increase/ enhance their capacity, on the basis of a valid receipt of FSSAI
license/ registration application having 17- digit Application Reference Number (ARN) generated upon
online application and fee payment on FoSCoS. This will enable immediate upscaling of production facilities
without waiting for regulatory approvals.
- No routine inspections are required to be done except in case of high risk food product viz. Milk and milk
products, slaughter houses, meat and meat products etc. However, food safety authorities can conduct
inspections in case of select cases on basis of risk profiling or in case of any food emergency/ incidents and
complaints. Where feasible, inspections can be done by e-inspection.
- The deadline for returns for 2020-21 has been extended till 30th, June 2021. All returns are required to be
filed online on FOSCOS.
- No penalty shall be payable for late filing of application for renewal of licenses.
These measures are until and shall cease w.e.f. 30.06.2021 irrespective of the status of lockdown/ curfew/ containment at any location. More details are available at http://www.fssai.gov.in