FSSAI – Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has decided to cap penalties incurred by food businesses due to delay in submission of Annual Returns by fixing the maximum limit from fiscal 2021-22. The food authority has ordered that the maximum limit to which the penalties can go shall not exceed ‘5 times the annual fees’ – as reported in fnbnews.
According to the statement issued by the FSSAI, ‘in order to reduce the burden on the food businesses owing to accumulated penalties, the Food Authority has decided to substitute the clause 2.1.13 (3) of the FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, with the below stated clause:
“(3) Any delay in filing return beyond 31st May of each year shall attract a penalty of Rs 100 per day for delay till the date of filing the return. The maximum penalty that can be levied shall not exceed 5 times the annual fees.”
Inoshi Sharma, executive director, compliance, FSSAI, has stated that this will come into effect from FY 2021-22 onward for which the extended last date of return was June 30, 2022. Further, the amount of penalty levied due to delay in submission of Annual Return with effect from FY 2021-22 (subject to maximum penalty levied shall not exceed 5 times the annual licence fee) shall be required to be paid by the food businesses before applying for renewal of their licences.
Clause 2.1.13 of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, specifies the condition for submission of Annual Returns by Manufacturers and Importers by May 31 of every year. Further, it specifies the penalty for delay in submission of Annual Return as Rs 100 per day beyond May 31.
However, there is no provision in the said regulation for the capping of the maximum amount of penalty levied due to non-submission of Annual Returns while it was brought to the notice of FSSAI that an inadvertent lapse of non- submission of Annual Returns has rendered Food Business Operators liable for hefty penalties.