FSSAI tight­ens noose around eater­ies with­out food li­cence

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

ALL ho­tels and restau­rants op­er­at­ing with­out li­cences is­sued by the food reg­u­la­tor will be sealed and closed if they fail to pro­duce the doc­u­ment af­ter three months.

Food safety reg­u­la­tor FSSAI, which also asked the ho­tels to get their pa­pers in order by mid-Jan­uary, is­sued the warn­ing.

Food Safety and Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Ku­mar Agar­wal said the reg­u­la­tor would first ask states to run a special drive to cre­ate aware­ness among food busi­ness op­er­a­tors about the re­quire­ment of li­cense, which is com­pul­sory.

The rule for li­cense also ap­plies to those es­tab­lish­ments, in­clud­ing re­li­gious places such as tem­ples, where food is not charged. How­ever, petty man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­tail­ers and hawk­ers, among oth­ers, are ex­empt from this.

“I am told that 30-40 per cent of our restau­rants and ho­tels do not have FSSAI licenses. If this is the law of the land, is it ac­cept­able?” he asked at a con­fer­ence on food ser­vice re­tail in New Delhi, or­gan­ised by in­dus­try cham­ber Ficci.

Agar­wal also made it clear that FSSAI li­cense is com­pul­sory for all food busi­nesses and non-com­pli­ance is not jus­ti­fied. There should not be any con­fu­sion on this, he added.

Since the watch­dog has been in ex­is­tence for the last six years, all ho­tels and restau­rants should have se­cured the li­cense by now, he said.

The restau­rants have to dis­play their li­cense at prom­i­nent points on the premises and the dis­play board should also have con­tact de­tails of cus­tomer care, as well as the food in­spec­tor of that lo­ca­tion.

The reg­u­la­tor has been ask­ing state govern­ments to take up special drive. Af­ter the time pe­riod for that is over, they have been ad­vised to seal and close all such units across the coun­try if they fail to take FSSAI licenses, he said.

FSSAI has been tasked with en­sur­ing 100 per cent li­cens­ing of restau­rants and ho­tels in the next three months and there will be ‘no com­pro­mise at all’. Stat­ing that FSSAI li­cence is needed for food busi­ness even if the food is not charged, he said even in tem­ples, they are sup­posed to have FSSAI li­cence or reg­is­tra­tion, de­pend­ing on the size of the busi­ness.

Agar­wal fur­ther said that af­ter tak­ing the li­cense, restau­rants also need to com­ply with all the reg­u­la­tions such as sub­mis­sion of food safety man­age­ment plan.

As per the Food Safety and Stan­dards Act, 2006, no per­son shall com­mence or carry out any food busi­ness ex­cept un­der a li­cense. Un­der the law, food busi­ness means any un­der­tak­ing, whether for profit or not and whether pub­lic or pri­vate, car­ry­ing out ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to any stage of man­u­fac­tur­ing, pro­cess­ing, pack­ag­ing, stor­age, trans­porta­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion of food, im­port and in­cludes ca­ter­ing ser­vices, sale of food or in­gre­di­ents.

The reg­u­la­tor plans to make it manda­tory for all food busi­nesses to have at least one per­son as food safety su­per­vi­sor who has to be trained and cer­ti­fied as per its cur­ricu­lum. The FSSAI is work­ing on de­vel­op­ing rat­ing for ‘hy­giene and hy­giene plus’ and the same will be out soon.

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