Food imports such as fresh apples, crude oil, pulses, peas, green moong beans, almonds and alcoholic beverages have grown rapidly over the years in India. Food products are imported from countries such as UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Russia, Germany, Indonesia, France and New Zealand. Thus, to ensure compliance to standards for imported food products, a robust and streamlined import clearance system is required.
For ease of doing business, FSSAI has integrated its Food Import Clearance System (FICS) with ICEGATE system of Customs under Single Window Clearance Interface to Facilitate Trade (SWIFT) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin and Tuticorin covering 21 locations. To maintain parity of testing and import clearance at all the ports where FSSAI is not present, officials of custom department have been notified as Authorised Officers on 136 locations. FSSAI import samples are sent to the labs which are NABL accredited. To streamline the functioning of labs for reducing the time taken in testing, 131 NABL accredited labs have been notified for testing of imported samples. Apart from this, 16 referral labs are also notified for re-testing of import samples. Customs in consultation with FSSAI has introduced Risk Management System (RMS) under which the testing and analysis of imported food is limited and reduced.