Food items which have at least 60 per cent shelf life or more will only be allowed to import, the food safety watchdog FSSAI said in its new guidelines, a move aimed at checking dumping of products.
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also said that no one can import any food product without having an import licence from the central licensing authority and at the same the importer should also be registered with the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
“..No food article shall be allowed to be cleared from the custom unless it has 60 per cent shelf life at the time of its clearance from the customs..,” the food safety regulator said in its notification.
Shelf life means the period between the date of manufacture and the best before or expiry date whichever is earlier as printed on the label.
FSSAI also said that if any food importer attempts to import unsafe and prohibited food or food from prohibited sources, directly or indirectly, including re-channelling, re- packing etc, his or her licence could be cancelled.
All India Food Processors Association President Amit Dhanuka said this brings more clarity and transparency in the regulations.
“We welcome this move now there is more clarity for importing the packaged food products. Besides, this move will also stop bringing expired products to the country and try to make it a dumping ground,” Dhanuka told PTI.
In addition to respective directions, the regulator also eased the import clearance process by introducing risk-based criteria for clearance rather than sampling of consignments.
FSSAI also further clarified the labelling norms and has permitted importers to affix logos as prescribed by the food safety norms on arrival of the food products at the custom bonded warehouses.