While standards help to set the benchmarks that need to be met, it is imperative to have robust institutional frameworks and systems to ensure compliance to the standards and regulations. A comprehensive compliance system includes surveillance and inspections for both domestic and imported food products. The primary onus of ensuring compliance rests with the States and UTs. States/ UT Governments have appointed Commissioners of Food Safety, notified Adjudicating Officers, Designated Officers and Food Safety Officers for their respective jurisdictions to perform various functions mandated under the Act. Further, Additional Food Safety Commissioners have been notified for Railways, Airports and Ports along with Designated Officers for Airports and Ports. Appellate Tribunal is established in 25 States/UTs.
All Food Businesses in India across the food value chain are required to be licensed or registered under the provisions of the FSS Act 2006. FSSAI has created an online system for Food Licensing and Registration (FLRS) and all States/UTs (except Nagaland) are issuing Food Licenses/Registrations through online mode.
A large-scale IT platform for Food Safety Compliance through Regular Inspections and Sampling (FoSCoRIS) is being put in place. Inspections would use standard compliance matrices to ensure consistency in approach of inspections across the country. FoSCoRIS is a web-based real-time inspection platform for Food Safety Officers (FSOs). Used via hand held device like mobile phones and Tablets, it uses instant geo-tagging, time stamping, real time data collection and multi-levels of verification. The system uses a nation-wide IT platform to bring together all key stakeholders, namely the food businesses, food safety officers (FSOs), designated officers (DOs), state food safety commissioners (FSCs) so that such inspections and sampling is done by maintaining a high level of integrity of the process and the process itself is effectively monitored at various levels.
The “Manual for Food Safety Officers” has been prepared as a guidance document for Food Safety Officers (FSOs) to be used while performing their duties for ensuring regulatory compliance of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations made there under.
In this manual regulatory provisions and subject matters pertaining to inspections, sampling, surveillance to be conducted by FSOs, their duties, responsibilities, accountabilities and procedures have been covered to the possible extent and also current tools and mechanisms to meet the objectives and policies. The manual will help in bringing uniformity, consistency and transparency in regulatory compliance procedures at ground level across the country.