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Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed that all the imported food items will be required to have a shelf life of minimum 60% or at least three months before it expires. The food safety regulator has asked the customs officers to enforce this and not to allow import of any food item that does not meet this condition.
FSSAI has released a draft notification which says “Customs shall not clear any article of food unless it has a valid shelf life of not less than sixty percent or three months before expiry whichever is less at the time of import.”
Shelf life is the period from the date of manufacture to the ‘best before use’ or ‘date of expiry’ that is printed on the label of the food item. This move has come in as some instances of imported foodstuff that has come to India had very less shelf life.
This notice from FSSAI also tells that the food importer will have to register with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and should have a valid import-export code. FSSAI shall also profile the importer, custom house agent, manufacturer of the imported product, imported product, origin country, source country of the consignment, port of entry and compliance history.
The draft also says that the importer will have to submit a certificate of sanitary export taken from authorized agencies in exporting countries for the categories of food as will be specified by the food safety regulation.
Just a few days back FSSAI had issued guidelines for recalling food products from markets if found unsafe for usage. The guidelines have put the responsibility of implementing any recall on the manufacturers and distributors. FSSAI also told that in case any serious health issues arise the license of food companies would be reviewed.