A knowledge-based session organised by NRAI on the Food Safety and Standards Act issued by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on the first day of the India Food Service Forum 2012, recently held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai, discussed the impact of the Act on the food industry. Titled “NRAI Knowledge Session: Food Safety and Standards Act – Everything You Need to Know and How to Deal with it” was chaired by Samir Kuckreja, President, NRAI. Others on the panel included Ujjwal Kumar, Country Head Business–Development, CQM; Ais Kumar, Designated Officer Western Zone, Food Safety Standards Authority of India; Anand Krishnan, Deputy Counsellor–Agriculture, Consulate General, The Netherlands; Dr. Shatadru Sengupta, Director-Legal and Company Secretary, McDonald’s (West & South); and Rajiv Malik, Deputy General Manager, Jubilant Foodworks.
Since the foodservice industry is still not aware about the new Act, the panel took the task of discussing briefly the various provisions that affect the players directly, especially the independent restaurateurs, and the areas where they need to prepare themselves to avoid the various pitfalls.
Krishnan delivered the key note address on the new food safety regulation, describing in a nutshell the entire process of registration, the role of the food safety officer, and the Act.
When asked about the challenges the new FSSAI Act brings, Malik said: “We work with around 250 suppliers. The challenge lies in making all the suppliers compliant to the new rule. In the last six months, we also warned our suppliers to get themselves aligned according to the needs of the new rules and then only we will work with them.”
The discourse then centered around the challenges and the consequences for both the operators and the FSSAI in the timely implementation of the new Act. The speakers also shared various cost effective solutions to improve the hygiene and sanitation process.
Talking on the licensing issue, Kumar clarified that if the annual turnover of a food service outlet is less than Rs 12 lakh, then it must get the registration done of that outlet but no licence is required as such. If the turnover exceeds Rs 12 lakh, then the outlet license is required.
The session concluded with the suggestion that industry bodies should conduct more sessions on the Act to create awareness among the players.