FSSAI – Indian Food Authority, has asked notified laboratories to ‘strictly’ comply with the time limit prescribed by it for analysis of samples or else be ready to face stringent action. The Authority has asked the state food safety departments that ‘stringent action may be taken against the defaulters’.
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The direction came after the Food Authority received information regarding delay in analysis and that several notified labs were not adhering to the time limit specified for testing of regulatory samples as per the FSS Act.
According to the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), for domestic regulatory samples, the food analyst shall issue the signed report within 14 days of the receipt of the article of food for analysis as per the format specified under FSS (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulations, 2011. And, in case the sample cannot be analysed within 14 days of its receipt, the food analyst shall inform the Designated Officer and the Commissioner of Food Safety giving reasons and specifying the time to be taken for analysis.
Similarly, in case of appeal, referral laboratory shall issue the report signed by the Director within 14 working days of receipt of sample as per the format specified and any delay shall be informed to the Designated Officer and the Food Safety Commissioner.
For Imports, “notified laboratory or referral laboratory, as the case may be, shall provide the laboratory analysis report as per the format specified under FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 within five days from the date of receipt of the sample. If the sample cannot be tested by the laboratory within the specified time, it shall state the reasons for the same in writing to the Authorised Officer,” reads the direction.
According to Sweety Behera, Director, Quality Assurance, FSSAI, if a laboratory has tested a sample as a primary laboratory then the appeal against the test results of that particular sample will not be entertained by the same laboratory, irrespective of the fact that the same laboratory is playing the role of a referral laboratory as well. The same sample will invariably be sent to another referral laboratory as per the testing capability and scope of that referral laboratory.