FSSAI is introducing Third party food safety audit of the food business operators through FSSAI Recognized Auditing Agencies in accordance with the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulations, 2017. The draft regulation covers the following sections:
a) Procedure for recognition of Auditing Agencies/ Auditors by constituting an Evaluation Committee on third party audit.
b) Procedure for Renewal/ Cancellation/Suspension of recognition
c) Role of Evaluation Committee for Third Party Auditing
d) Audit Process
e) Audit Reporting
f) Audit Monitoring System
g) Duties of Auditors
A robust framework for audit monitoring and governance of the same is also being developed alongside. As per the above draft regulation, select Food Categories prescribed by the Food Authority, will be subject to mandatory Food Safety Auditing. Food Businesses falling under such category would be required to get their businesses timely audited by recognized Auditing Agencies on their own according to the audit frequency prescribed by the Food Authority. Food businesses which are not subject to mandatory Food Safety auditing can also voluntarily opt for the same for their businesses.
Food Businesses having undergone satisfactory audits will be subjected to less frequent audits by Central or State licensing authorities. Hence, Third party Audits will reduce the burden on the regulatory Food Safety Audits conducted by Central or State Licensing Authorities while at the same time assuring safe food to the consumers.
FSSAI has initiated the process of provisional recognition of auditing agencies to create a pool of auditing agencies that could be used for audit of some food businesses as decided by FSSAI. The experience and feedback obtained would be used while finalizing the regulations in this regard.