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FSSAI Provides Relaxation to FBO's Owing to Covid 19 Pandemic

FSSAI Issues Directions Regarding Relaxation to FBOs During Prevailing COVID-19 Conditions

The FSSAI has issued directions through its order dated 20 April 2021 regarding relaxations to the FBOs during the prevailing COVID-19 conditions. To ensure uninterrupted food services/supply during the COVID-19 conditions presently prevailing in the country, the FSSAI has decided to facilitate the FBOs and ensure ease of doing business by providing the following relaxations.

  1. FBOs have been given permission to temporarily operate food businesses (other than food Manufacturers) on the basis of the 17-digit Application Reference Number. Allow FBOs, except manufacturers, to temporarily operate their food business on the basis of application. This may be for a

  • new license / registration

  • modification of an existing license

  • registration to add a kind of business (other than manufacture)

All such FBOs will be required to apply by making an online application with a prescribed fee through online mode on FoSCoS and possess a valid receipt of application with the 17-digit application reference number.

FBOs will be required to inform by e-mail, the concerned Licensing / Registration Authorities / Commissioners of Food Safety about commencing their food business, enclosing a scanned copy of their application in FORM M (given as annexure below). The same needs to be signed by the proprietor/director/partners or a senior employee of the applicant. 

The said relaxation is available to only those applicants who have the requisite permission from State/relevant local authorities to operate in the lockdown/ restrictions/ curfew etc. The FBO shall cease their operations at the premises related to food unless he has obtained a valid FSSAI license/ registration as applicable within 30 days, after the expiry of this relaxation.

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  1. In the case of Manufacturers, they are allowed to operate their food businesses with higher capacity, on the basis of an application for modification of License. Such FBOs shall be required to apply for modification of FSSAI license by making an online application with the prescribed fee through online mode on FoSCoS and possess a valid receipt of application with a 17-digit application reference number.

  2. Limited inspections and e-inspections allowed: No pre-inspections are required for issuance of new FSSAI license/registration except in the case of manufacturing of high-risk food product namely. Milk and Milk Products, slaughterhouses, meat and meat products, etc. Similarly, no routine inspections are required to be done. However, Food Safety Authorities can conduct e-inspections in case of select cases on basis of risk profiling, for eg. milk and milk products, slaughterhouses, meat and meat products, etc. or in case of food emergency/incidents and complaints as per the existing provision of the FSS Act, 2006, rules and regulations made thereunder.

  3. Extension of Timeline for submission of online Annual Returns through FoSCoS: The timeline for the submission of online annual yearly returns (D-1) for the period 2020-21 due for submission on or before 31 May, 2021 has been extended to 30 June 2021. The same has to be filed mandatorily through online mode i.e, through Food Safety Compliance System, FOSCOS (for detailed instructions, refer FSSAI order no.15(31)2020 / FoSCoS) / RCD / FSSAI dated 18 December, 2020

  4. Waiver of late fee for renewing license: FSSAI has decided to waive off late fee, in case, renewal of license is not applied as early as 30 days before the expiry of license (refer Regulation 2.1.7(2) and 2.1.7(4) of FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011. The late fee ranges from Rs.100 to Rs.3000. No late fee for renewal of Licenses shall be charged till 30 June 2021. This means that no late fee for renewal of application (as stipulated under the said regulation) will be charged for licenses, if filled on or before 30 June 2021.

As the process for renewal of license and registration is completely online and renewals can be filed as early as 180 days prior to expiry of license and registration, food businesses are advised to file the renewal application well in time to avoid expiry of their licenses and registrations and causing unnecessary hassle to themselves.  It is clarified that the late fee applicable on renewals applied after 30 June 2021 will be charged as per the provisions in FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011. 

NOTE: The above relaxations shall cease with effect from 30 June 2021 irrespective of the status of lockdown/ curfew/ containment at any location.

The FSSAI has advised the

  • Commissioners of Food Safety to supervise the above-mentioned relaxations which are for the facilitation of the food business operators in public interest.

  • Once the relaxations expire/are over, Food Safety Commissioners must ensure that FBOs who have availed the permission of operating without license / registration / modification based on their 17-digit Application Reference Number (ARN) generated on FoSCoS, cease operations within 30 days from the end of the relation, unless license/ registration has been obtained by them.

  • Food Safety Commissioners shall also ensure that the applications shall be processed on priority and approvals granted expeditiously for the license / registration (s) applied.

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