FSSAI had come out with its statement asking Food Business Operators (FBOs) to undergo product testing twice in ever financial year, with a gap between the two testings that are to be conducted compulsorily to not be lesser than 3 months.
These first mandatory testing is to be conducted between April to September and the other testing should happen between October to March in a financial year.
A clarification was issued by FSSAI on the same with regards to the frequency of mandatory product testing that had to be undergone as a condition for licence which had been laid out under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
FSSAI had further stated that the decision had been taken in order to align with the submission of the Annual Returns online by the Food Business Operators (FBOs).
The order read as follows – “In order to align mandatory testing with the submission of online Annual Return which is Financial Year-wise, it is clarified that testing of food products as per the ‘condition number 12’ of the FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, shall be carried out by manufacturers on basis of financial year i.e. first half year from April to September and second half year from October to March.”
The ‘Condition No. 12’ under the licensing & registration rules states as follows – “Ensure testing of relevant chemical and/or microbiological contaminants in food products in accordance with these regulations as frequently as required on the basis of historical data and risk assessment to ensure production and delivery of safe food through own or NABL accredited/FSSAI notified labs at least once in six months.”
A clarification was sought for by Food Business Operators (FBOs) from FSSAI regarding the timeline for the said condition. Clarification was sought from FSSAI as to the periodicity, whether it would be ‘calendar-wise’ or ‘fiscal year-wise.’
FSSAI has also provided a clarification regarding those FBOs who have obtained their licence recently would be exempted from undergoing testing mandatorily for both the preceding as well as ending half year period.