Food Safety Compliance System (FoSCoS) has been operational in 9 States and UTs, including Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Odisha, Chandigarh, Goa, Manipur, Puducherry, and Ladakh, with effect from 1 June 2020. According to the recent update, FSSAI is now ready to extend FoSCoS to the entire country with effect from 1 November 2020.
Since 2011, the FSSAI’s online licensing platform FLRS (Food Licensing and Registration System) is the soul of the licensing ecosystem with 100% India (all State and UTs) coverage, 70 lakh licenses and registrations issued till date, over 40 lakh licensees and registrants actively transacting on it.
FSSAI is launching its cloud-based, upgraded new food safety compliance online platform called Food Safety Compliance System (FoSCoS). It will replace the existing FLRS, FSSAI stated. FoSCoS is conceptualized to provide one point stop for all engagement of a food business operator with the department for any regulatory compliance transaction. FoSCoS has been integrated with FoSCoRIS mobile app and will soon integrate with present IT platforms of FSSAI, such as INFOLNet, FoSTaC, and FICS. Sample management, improvement notices, adjudications, audit management system activities, and modules will be enabled in a phased manner in the future.
Technologies such as GPS location tagging, picture capture will be utilized in the future to ensure transparent and accountable extension fields services such as inspections and sampling. In the future, it will be integrated with other platforms of the Government of India, such as GST, PAN, and MCA, to ensure 360-degree profiling and validation of businesses.
According to FSSAI’s press note, a single regulatory platform will enable pan India integrated response system to any food fraud and ensure an advanced risk-based, data-driven regulatory approach. For a start, FoSCoS will be offering licensing, registration, inspection, and annual return modules. FoSCoS essentially has flows similar to FLRS, so that users have convenience in migrating to FoSCoS. The paradigm change is the shift of licensing methodology for manufacturers, which now shall be based on a standardized product list. This will help in a quicker grant of licenses and eliminate any errors. The new approach is only for manufacturers of standardized food products.
For manufacturers, in the case of non-specified food, supplements, nutraceuticals, proprietary food, and substances added to food – the approach continues to be as in FLRS. All other kinds of businesses such as catering, transport, storage, licensing, and registration shall be based on a broad category approach, as earlier, said FSSAI.
Along with FoSCoS, the module for filing an online annual return shall also be available. The return for the financial year 2019-2020 may also be filed online. Delayed returns due to postal delays, need to preserve dispatch or receipt proofs, and disputes regarding submission of returns resulting in harassment of food business operators will be eliminated. Mandatory documents have been rationalized, and many paper-based declarations have been replaced with a tick-based declaration. The central theme is to enhance the ease of doing business for the food business operators and enhance users’ user experience.
Once the FoSCoS is launched, all data related to licenses and registrations will be available on FoSCoS, and the FLRS data shall be disabled for taking any action. However, for initial days, users can access their issued licenses and registrations or applications under processing on FLRS for viewing purposes only. Users will not be required to immediately do anything upon migration to FoSCoS, apart from verifying the correctness of details in issued licenses and registrations and applications under processing.
However, all manufacturers holding valid FSSAI license shall be needed to modify their license to choose from the available list of standardized products before a prescribed date. Steps to be taken upon migration from FLRS to FoSCoS, FAQs, and another user-oriented material have been made available on the homepage of FLRS and FoSCoS.
States or UTs have been given directions for capacity building among the officers and food business operators to ensure a smooth transition from FLRS to FoSCoS. FSSAI has been continuously conducting training and workshops on the critical features of the system. Further, a training version of FoSCoS has been made available so that users of the system get acquainted with the upcoming system. The guidance document, PPT, video tutorials, and user manuals have been made available under the User Manual Section on the system’s homepage.
Directions have been issued to all States or UTs to establish a “Licensing Help Desk” at State HQ level to address users’ queries. An officer(s) needs to handle this desk whose telephone number and email needs to be disseminated to stakeholders in the State. In case of any issue concerning FoSCoS, the grievance holder may contact the Licensing Helpdesk at the State or contact FSSAI helpline 1800112100 or email at email@example.com.