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Food importers have to get registered with the Director-General of Foreign Trade. Food importers have to obtain an FSSAI License for importer which will be a Central License from FSSAI.
Various food products are imported in India from different countries. To ensure safe imported food is made available to consumers, Authorized Officers are appointed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as “FSSAI”) to check the imported food articles at various ports. Importers of food have to comply with various norms to make sure the imported food gets clearance. Primarily, section 25 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 contains provisions relating to the import of food articles in India and states that
“No person shall import into India – Any hazardous or misbranded or sub-standard food or food covering unimportant matter; any article of food for the import of which a license is required under any Act or rules or regulations, except in accordance with the conditions of the license; and whichever object of nutrition in breaking of any other provision of this Act or of any rule or regulation made thereunder or any other Act.”
Further, for the purpose of streamlining the process of clearance of food in an efficient and transparent manner, the FSSAI has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 on March 9, 2017, laying down provisions for import of food in India and FSSAI packaging and labeling of such imported food items. Various provisions that are contained in the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 are as follows:
The shelf life of a food article is the period between the date of manufacture of such food and the “Best Before” or “Date of expiry”, whichever is earlier, as printed on the label. Only food articles which have a valid shelf life of not less than 60% at the time of import of such food will be cleared by customs.
If imported food articles have a shelf life of fewer than 7 days, the importer has to submit an application for issuance of provisional no-objection certificate to the customs. Thereafter, the Authorized Officer1 shall communicate to the customs along with no-objection certificate if the food articles conform to the required standard. These provisions are related to the FSSAI License for Importer.
All imported food has to be packaged and labelled in accordance with Labeling and Packaging Regulations, 2011. Also, the following compliances the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017 are to be adhered to:
All food articles are to be transported or stored in optimal storage conditions of temperature and hygiene, packaged and labelled as per regulations applicable to that particular article of food.
In case multiple foods or foods falling under different categories are packed in a single container or carton or pallet or skid, then the foods are to be packed in such a manner that they are accessible for inspection and sampling.
Bill of Entry (BOE) is filed at the Customs ICE GATE on Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT). SWIFT is working on Risk-based sampling system, called as Risk Management System (RMS).
For applying for NOC these are the important document requirements
The procedure for obtaining NOC is that first, you have to pay the fees for laboratory testing on a per-sample basis. Since April 2014 the FSSAI is accepting payments only through bank credit/ debit cards/ net banking for all import clearance through FICS only.
You have to provide any clarification sought by the Authorized Officer (AO). It is important to facilitate and company the inspection team at the time of inspection and drawing of samples once the dates are given. The AO will check the consignment visually for
The first obligation before you start an import/ export commercial in India is to find an IEC. An IEC is necessary for import/export of goods. In case the import/export is of services or technology, IEC is required in only limited circumstances, when import/export is in ‘specified services’ or ‘specified technologies’, i.e. services or technologies in which international trade is limited by the Administration of India as they relate to countrywide security, such as commerce in nuclear weapons, automatic guns, etc.
IEC is not required under the following circumstances: