Industry in limbo over product launches after FSSAI scraps approvals procedure

TOMOJIT BASU MEENAKSHI VERMA AMBWANI New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 28, 2015

Even before the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has resolved its ongoing dispute with Nestle India over Maggi Noodles, the food regulator now seems to have irked other manufacturers.

FSSAI’s recent statement that it will not continue with the product approval procedure any longer, has raised the question of what happens to products for which approvals were in the pipeline or earlier denied.

“We expect more clarity from the FSSAI on the status of pending and future product approvals. For now, the industry has come to a standstill as far as launches are concerned,” said Amit Dhanuka, President, All India Food Processors’ Association.

The FSSAI move of August 26 was following the Supreme Court (SC) decision of August 19 upholding a Bombay High Court order that had quashed the product approval advisory issued by it in 2013.

Sources in the food industry felt the process of amending regulations – which is what the regulator intends to do as per the notification – could take between six months and a year. Without an interim measure, it could impact business for companies looking to launch new products, particularly ahead of the festival season.

Lawyers familiar with food safety, however, said companies were free to go ahead with launches with the approvals issue out of the way.

“Product approval as a concept does not exist in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, or the 2011 regulations. One can expect more product launches now with the latest development,” said Dheeraj Nair, Partner, J. Sagar Associates.

“The Act is structured for a self-regulation process and is self-sufficient in that it puts the onus on the food business operator to conduct its business the right way failing which the regulator is empowered to take action against it,” he added.

Between March and June this year, the FSSAI received 4,357 manual applications, of which 348 were pending approval, while 551 were rejected. While 1,047 no objection certificates were issued, 2,094 were closed for being non-responsive.

“It’s not clear what happens to these approvals and clarity is needed till it becomes a regulation. The industry is in limbo and another round of clarification is required from the regulator,” said Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs.

Published on August 28, 2015

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.