All civic bodies in NCT Delhi have been asked by The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to cease issuing licensing to the food businesses under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.
The Municipal Commissioners of all three Municipal Corporations of North, South and East Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board have been requested through a letter not to grant licenses since FSSAI has the exclusive authority to issue food-business related licenses.
It has come into the sight of FSSAI that Food Business Operators (FBOs) in NCT Delhi were compelled to receive license for continuing their food business operations by these civic bodies and one such ‘form’ exists under Section 24 of the Prevention of the Food Adulteration Act for procuring the license for the manufacturing, preparation, sale, exposure for sale, storage or article of food and drinks
However, “2006’s enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, passed by the Parliament of India and release of the Rules and Regulations thereunder from 5th August 2011 authorized the Registering Authorities (Central and State Licensing Authorities) duly designated under the FSS Act provisions by the respective Commissioner of Food Safety,” states the letter.
FSSAI also made it clear that as per the Section 89 of the FSS Act, “The provisions of this (FSS) Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything incompatible contained in any other law for the present time or any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.”
The letter asked the municipal commissioners of civic bodies in NCT Delhi to consider the matter as soon as possible and make it sure that no separate or extra licenses are granted by their offices and any FBO, either doing business under their jurisdiction or planning to set up a new business must be directed to contact FSSAI for licenses.
The civic bodies were also urged to present the details of the licenses issued by their office in front of FSSAI as it was mandatory for the publicity of the ease of doing businesses and rationalizing of the FBOs’ operational and compliance burden. This decision was appreciated by Food Industry representatives.
D V Malhan, President of the Society of Indian Bakers informed- “This move was awaited for some time and now the removal of oddity would aid considerably in making the business tasks easy.”
He also appealed the FSSAI that the supreme food regulator should also inspect the matter, if a similar approach is espoused by other municipalities to minimize the anomalies nationwide, since the governing principle of the municipalities is the similar to that of FSSAI.