The latest ruling of Supreme Court quashing product approval advisory of the Food Safety and Standards Authority eases the way for new product launches, but industry players say they will need more clarity from the regulator.
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, said: “It is not advisable to launch new products or import products just yet. Further clarity is required for food product approvals that are pending with the authority as well as new food product approval applications.”
Food safety experts are advising food processing companies to wait till the regulator comes out with some communication, post the SC ruling.
Another senior executive with a food company, that had to recently withdraw products awaiting pending approval from FSSAI, said the company is not immediately looking to put their products back on the shelves. The executive said that it is not clear, what this means for the product approval framework. He also said that there are several other issues related to labelling and packaging that needs to be sorted before they can re-launch products.
The All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA) hopes that new products, which are made out of already approved ingredients, will be able to hit the shelves in time for the festival season.
Amit Dhanuka, President, AIFPA, said that the industry had been facing challenges due to long waiting period for product approvals, which was stifling innovation in the industry.
He said now the industry wants to work closely with the regulator at the same time seeking further clarity on the product approval framework.
Officials and key food processing associations are expected to meet with the new FSSAI Chairman soon.
The industry has been pushing for clarity on duality of laws that govern food labelling and packaging — Food Safety and Standards Act as well as the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Act.
With the latest turn of events, industry is also urging the regulator to impart training to officials, especially at the state-level, so they are equipped with skills to deal with issues such as testing of products.