The FSSAI’s order extends the earlier deadline for conversions/renewals of existing licences/registrations and not for new applications

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) order issued on Tuesday extending the deadline for food business operators to comply with Food Safety Act was said to be causing confusion among enforcement officials and business establishments.

Order

The order extended the earlier deadline of February 4 to August 4 for conversions/renewals of existing licences/registrations obtained under the earlier legislations such as Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. It does not include applications for fresh licences. The deadline for fresh licences/registrations was February 4.

A Food Safety Wing Official told The Hindu here on Wednesday that there was confusion over this order as it would not be applicable for the 12,000-odd food business operators in Coimbatore who were operating without licences or registrations.

Extension

The earlier extension order issued by FSSAI on February 5, 2013, clearly stated that the deadline had been extended by a year for those seeking conversions/renewals of existing licences, as well as for those operating without licences. With reference to the new extension, the official said that a large number of local traders and food business operators have refused to accept this difference and have appealed to the authorities not to enforce this norm.

The Food Safety Act had replaced eight legislations that covered various food products ranging from milk to meat and made it mandatory for all food businesses, from pushcarts to restaurants, to get licences/registrations. It had provisions for stringent legal action, including imprisonment, for firms violating this norm.

Officials said that they cannot begin enforcing this Central legislation without orders from the Tamil Nadu Food Safety Commissioner. As of now, orders have not yet been issued.

When the Act was notified and implemented from August 5, 2011, businesses were given an initial deadline of a year to register. It was extended from August 4, 2012, to February 4, 2013, and again to February 4 this year. This has been further extended by another six months.

A senior official said: “What the food traders do not realise is that they were all covered under this Act regardless of whether they have got registrations/licences. Their products would have to conform to FSSAI standards, failing which they would face legal consequences.”

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