A decision was made by FSSAI, which is seen as a part of its interim measure to grant exemption from third-party audits to fish and fishery processing units that are engaged in exports, who are already being subject to inspection by the Export Inspection Agency under the Export Inspection Council.
A direction has also been issued by FSSAI in this regard, wherein, it has exempted such units from third-party audits till November 30, 2021.
The FSSAI order read as follows:
“The fish and fishery processing units inspected by EIC shall be exempted from Third Party Audit until 30th November, 2021, if they are able to provide a copy of EIC inspection report to FSSAI.”
As per the FSSAI, the matter was scrutinized at length and this was an interim measure. Additionally, the food authority is expected to have a discussion on the matter with the EIC before they take a decision on the future course of action.
The matter dealt with the inspection of the processing units of seafood exporters. The Seafood Exporters Association of India made a representation before the FSSAI stating that these units had been examined and inspected by the EIC and hence they must be given exemption from inspection by the FSSAI.
The association had in their representation mentioned that the fish and fishery processing units that have been approved by EIC for export purposes had been monitored continuously by the Export Inspection Agencies that had covered all the aspects mentioned under Food Safety Regulations. Hence, these units may be exempt from additional inspection by FSSAI.
Previously, a directive had been issued by FSSAI at major intervals regarding the mandatory audit of businesses that have been holding Central licences and which fall under the six high risk categories that are defined by FSSAI. The regional directors had also been directed to complete the audits for the FBOs who possess Central licence and falling under the six high risk categories by 20th August, 2021.