FSSAI nod to e-inspect businesses for food permits

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on April 02, 2020

After lockdown, food inspectors can schedule physical inspection of units

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to allow State licensing authorities to conduct e-inspections to avoid any delay in grant of licences and registrations to certain food business operators (FBOs) during the ongoing lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

This applies to licence and registrations applications where licensing authorities need to conduct inspection of food units before granting permits. These FBOs will be now be allowed to submit photos/videos or do live-streaming of their units or premises to the licensing authorities for the purpose of e-inspection.

In a letter sent to all State Food Safety Commissioners, the food safety authority stated: “FSSAI has, from time to time, issued directions emphasising post-license inspection instead of pre-licence/registration inspection due to limited manpower and to avoid undue delay in sanctioning licenses. However, the licensing/registration authorities may, in certain cases, particularly high-risk food categories, decide to have pre-licence inspection.”

“Since during the lockdown period this would not be possible, it has been decided to consider e-inspections in place of physical inspections,” FSSAI stated, adding that this is being done to avoid undue delay in granting licenses and registrations during the period.

It said that the licensing authorities can do e-inspection by recording their observations on the basis of videos and images submitted by the concerned FBOs.

“The mode of submission of videos or image related to inspection during the lockdown situation may be through any media available possible, including livestreaming. Upon receiving satisfactory video or images, the licensing/registering authority shall further process the applications without any delay,” FSSAI said in the order.

Once normalcy is restored, the food inspectors can then schedule physical inspections of such units. The regulator emphasised that e-inspection is being allowed only during the current lockdown period.

The food safety authority also reiterated that since food is an essential commodity, the authorities involved in licensing and registration should make all efforts to process such applications without delay.

Published on April 02, 2020

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