FSSAI must ensure expeditious inspection of imported food articles: HC

October 03, 2022 01:25 am | Updated 01:25 am IST - NEW DELHI

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

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The Delhi High Court has ruled that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is under obligation to ensure that all imported articles of food are inspected with due “expedition and promptitude”.

Justice Yashwant Varma, however, declined to give any ruling to prescribe or stipulate a particular timeframe within which that exercise of inspection, taking of samples and clearance should be completed.

The court’s order came while hearing a plea by a food importer aggrieved by the delay caused by FSSAI in granting a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for clearance of imported goods resulting in the company being foisted with huge liabilities towards demurrage charges. Demurrage is a charge paid by a shipper to an airport operator for utilising the storage facility at cargo terminals.

The importer submitted that it must be given the choice to move the goods to a public warehouse pending clearance by FSSAI.

To this, the court said that pending clearance of imported articles by the FSSAI, “it would in principle be permissible for an importer to apply to the competent authority of Customs to be granted the permission to move such articles from a custodian warehouse to a public warehouse”.

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