The Tamil Nadu Food Safety Department has taken online the licensing procedures for food businesses in the State. The food business operators can now apply or renew licences without ever having to come to any office of the Food Safety Department.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Thursday that Tamil Nadu was the ninth State in the country to take the licensing procedures online.

This step had been mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Act. The online facility was launched by State Food Safety Commissioner Kumar Jayanth in Chennai on Tuesday.

Sources said that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, a statutory body that implemented the Act, would conduct training programmes for food business operators on the new procedure. Officials here said that they would assist the applicants during the initial period with the online application process.

Licence was mandatory for all food business concerns with an annual turnover of above Rs. 12 lakh. At present, 2,156 firms in Coimbatore had obtained licences, an official said, adding that the total number of food business firms here would be around 8,500. All the firms must get licences before February 4, 2014.

According to the officials, Form B application, submitted for getting the licence, would no longer be issued in paper form and could be obtained only online.

Applicants would have to go to the website and choose the option ‘Food Licensing & Registration System (FLRS)’ to commence the process. Once the Form B was submitted, the applicants would have to remit the requisite fee to the treasury, scan the receipts and other relevant documents such as identify proofs and upload them to the website.

However, a senior official said that for this step alone, applicants also have option of sending the documents and receipt through registered post to the Designated Officer of Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department (Food Safety Wing) in the district.

After this, Food Safety Officers will conduct the physical inspection and would submit their reports online. All the 32 Food Safety Officers in Coimbatore district had been issued with an internet-enabled tablet for the purpose.

Once their reports were scrutinised by the Designated Officer concerned, the applicant would be issued Form C or the licence.

The applicant could track the status of the application during any stage of the process through an Application Reference Number. If any clarifications were needed, the applicant would get an email automatically.

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