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FSSAI deadline for registration, licence extended again

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Even after a two-year timeframe, including a six-month extension, just 11 lakh out of the country’s 5 crore food business operators registered themselves with the apex food regulator and only around 3 lakh food licences have been issued so far against the target of 50 lakh.

This has compelled the Food and Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) again to extend the deadline for registration and licence for the food industry by six months, to August 2013.

The first deadline was extended from August 2012 to February 4, 2013 under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.

As per rules, anybody engaged in selling anything edible — roadside tea stalls, dhabas, fruits and vegetable hawkers, grocery shops, milk vendors, canteens, caterers, restaurants, hotels, food processors — failing to get licence and registration by February 4 were to be penalised by the food regulator.

One of the objectives of the enforcement is to ensure that registration/licensing provisions are fulfilled and food items are safe, hygienic, wholesome and free of contaminants.

However, given the haste shown by the FSSAI in introducing the new regulation without adequate consultation with the States and the poor awareness, the regulator is finding it difficult to convince the food business operators, particularly middle and smaller ones, to get themselves register under the new regime.

In fact, various food business associations have been opposing the regulation alleging that it will result into harassment of the small dhabas and vendors who will also have to take registration in addition to all other licences required from State Government agencies.

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