By Lucy Rana and Rupin Chopra
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as FSSAI) vide its notification dated June 8, 2021, has directed the food businesses in India to mention FSSAI license/registration number on receipts/invoices/cash memos/bills etc. from October 01, 2021.
As per the notification, there shall also be amendments to FSS (Licensing and registration of Food Businesses) Regulations for all time display of ‘food safety display boards’ at prominent places at restaurants. FSSAI aims to strengthen the regulatory structure and robust customer grievance system by digitalizing access to information related the food business and lodging complaint by inputting the 14-digit FSSAI license/registration number.
According to FSSAI regulators, complaints are largely inconclusive due to lack of specific information such as FSSAI number mentioned. FSSAI number acts similar to a unique locator code for identifying and tracing the origin of the complaint. FFSSAI mandates compulsory registration of food establishments prior to commencement of business as well as compulsory display of FSSAI number on packaged food labels. Further, FSSAI plans to provide consumers a mechanism to know the FSSAI number of service providers vide this order.
- There shall be mandatory declaration of 14-digit FSSAI license/registration number on transaction documents provided by all food businesses such as cash receipts/purchase invoices/cash memo/bills etc. excluding GST e-way bill from October 01, 2021. Food businesses shall be required to maintain minimum compliance cost as no new transaction documents are required to be issued as per the order. Mandatory declaration shall enhance disclosure and improve the food regulation infrastructure. Non-compliance of declaration shall lead to food business being declared as non-registered under FSSAI.
- Food establishments shall display ‘food safety display boards’ as per FSS (Licensing and registration of Food Businesses) Regulations amendments. Boards shall be located at prominent places of restaurants to increase overall consumer awareness.
- FSSAI number can be used for purposes of tracking and tracing path of pre-packaged food from manufacturer to consumer. Such mechanism shall improve the traceability and establishing a trail for food products.
The order seeks to enable enhanced access to information and empower credible regulatory structure. Inclusion of digitally equipped mechanisms such as FSSAI online portal and ‘Food Safety Connect’ app shall improve lodging online complaints. FSSAI number on cash receipts/purchase invoices/cash memo/bills shall help in building a database for FSSAI in cases of complaints for verifying source.
FSSAI seeks to improve the grievance redressal mechanism by simplifying lodging online complaints through FSSAI number. This step shall make consumers equipped with specific information that is required for speedy disposal of grievances and further improve the overall awareness and hence enhance the parameters of food safety and standards in India.