FSSAI orders state officials to crack down on counterfeit food products

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 11, 2020

Asks them to identify products imported without FSSAI license

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed all state food safety officers to step up market surveillance to prevent sale of counterfeit food products across physical retail stores as well as e-commerce platforms.

It has also asked the authorities to conduct regular surveys to identify foreign food products that are being “clandestinely imported” without FSSAI approval.

Regular surveys

In a letter sent out to Food Safety Commissioners of all States and UTs, as well-authorised food safety officers, FSSAI said, “Counterfeit of food items is a serious challenge. Per se, the act of counterfeiting is an infringement of IP laws which is not in the domain of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, however, since counterfeit food items are likely to be sub-standard and sometimes even unsafe, state food safety administrations have to be vigilant about it.”

FSSAI has also ordered them to focus on developing local intelligence to identify commodities, hotspots and trends in counterfeit food products and coordinate with major brands to “generate actionable information.”

“E-commerce players will need to put in place mechanisms to the prevent sale of counterfeit food goods and illegal imported goods on their platforms. They must ensure that sellers of food goods on their platform must be FSSAI registered/licensed. Beside, in case of packaged goods, only goods which have FSSAI registration/licence indicated (on labels) must be allowed for sale,” the food safety authority emphasised.

Stating that while import mechanisms are being strengthened to reduce import of food products without FSSAI licence, “the easy availability of such goods on e-commerce platforms, reputed malls and food retail outlets conveys an impression of sanctity to consumers.”

In a bid to ensure availability of manpower for such surveillance, the FSSAI has urged State administrations to identify the number of posts required for food safety activities and take steps to “create and fill them”.

Published on March 11, 2020

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