In response to COVID 19 pandemic, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is taking several steps to facilitate industry during the lockdown period. As the country moves further in its fight against COVID 19 and many restrictions are being eased across many areas, FSSAI is gearing to face emerging challenges.
FSSAI is engaged with State Food Safety Departments, communicating the emerging priorities in the food safety landscape. The priorities communicated include expediting work related to licensing on the online portal, establish licensing helpline in each state with a dedicated number and email id, create a robust complaint handling mechanism; conduct only essential inspections, among others. FSSAI has strongly emphasized the need for facilitating food business to the State food authorities.
FSSAI had issued detailed guidelines on food safety and hygiene for food businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic. The pdf of the same can be accessed here.
Realizing the need for training food handlers, FSSAI has commenced training for food handlers under its flagship Food Safety Training & Certification (FoSTaC) program.
Apart from training, there is a need to counter myths and misinformation. Several instances have been brought to the notice of the authority where products such as frozen food, food served cold or chilled were selectively not allowed to be transported, stored or sold, ostensibly on the notion that they could promote the spread of COVID-19. FSSAI has communicated to State’s or UT’s giving instructions to review any such restriction imposed in their State and rescind those not consistent with FSSAI guidance. States or UT’s have been instructed to follow a non-discriminatory approach while dealing with food businesses in the lockdown and even post lockdown period.