Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the only controlling authority of food products. The FSSAI regulates the norms for import of food products in India as well as revise the norms from time to time. No Food Product can be imported to India unless complying with the guidelines set by the FSSAI.
Let’s take a look on the different types of Guidelines for Import of Food Products.
Every entity who wants to import food products must have to obtain License / Registration certificates to the hassle-free import of food products.
PROCESS FOR CUSTOM CLEARANCE
The Business owner must prepare Authority Letter in favour of a Customs Handling Agent (CHA) addressed to the FSSAI/ Authorised officer. On arrival of consignment, Customs Handling Agent would file an application for
clearance of consignment and after a verification by Government Customs Agent clearance of customs formalities and payment of customs duty.
At the time of Customs Clearance, the Customs Handling Agent will also file an application in the Food Import Clearance System (FICS) of FSSAI to obtain a ‘No Objection Certificate’.
The documents required to be uploaded to the FSSAI platform for FSSAI clearance are:
1. Importer Exporter Code (IEC) issued by the DGFT;
2. FSSAI Central License
3. Entry Bill
4. Customs Examination Order and NOC from the FSSAI.
Other additional documents required in different cases are:
A permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India (APEDA)
Sanitary Import Permit issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry, GOI (Livestock Products)
Registration of import contracts for poppy seeds.
Certificate of Origin issued (if the consignor is from a different country)
Phyto-Sanitary Certificate issued by the Plant Quarantine Department of Exporting Country (in case of primary agriculture/ horticulture produce with fumigation endorsement)
Certificate of Analysis with composition (Ingredients)
Pumping Guarantee Certificate in case of edible oil imported in bulk;
Temperature Chart (if the food consignment trans-shipped under the Cold Chain)
Bill of Entry (BoE) for sea consignment;
Air Way Bill as mentioned in the Bill of Entry (BoE) for air consignment;
In case of an aseptic package, a declaration by an undertaking from the manufacturer that the
representative sealed sample is from the same batch of the consignment;
NOC for undertaking to break open the sealed (In absence of representative sample)
High Sea Sale Agreement;
Radio Activity Certificate (If required)
Any other report(s) / document(s) / undertaking (s)/ Affidavit(s) as directed and as specified
by the Authorised Officer or by the Food Authority from time to time
Inspection and Sampling of the Consignment As per FSSAI Regulation
Once an application is made in the Food Import Clearance System with the above documents, an FSSAI Officer will verify the documents, request more information (if required only). If the application is accepted, the Imported will be requested to deposit fees for FSSAI clearance based on the number of samples. After the visual examination, the FSSAI Officer would draw two samples from the consignment for testing. One of the sealed and labelled Food Sample will be sent to a randomly selected laboratory made by the Food Import Clearance System.
The second food sample would be stored in appropriate conditions for re-testing if the need arises. The samples of imported Food sent by the Authorised Officer would be analyzed by the laboratory as per the parameters defined in the Food Safety and Standards Act and the Regulations. The lab is required to send its report within five days to
the Authorised Officer with a conclusive opinion about the product tested as conforming or non-conforming.
Final Approval as FSSAI and Custom
The food product would then be cleared for import into India and released from the customs warehouse, If the authorised lab issues an opinion report confirming that the food consignment is in conformance with the FSSAI regulations, the FSSAI Officer would issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC)/ Non-Conformance Certificate (NCC).