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 or registrations issued till date, over 35 lakhs licensees or registrants actively transacting on it.
Food Safety Compliance System (FoSCoS)
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. FoSCoS is conceptualized to provide one point stop for all engagement of an FBO with the department for any regulatory compliance transaction. FoSCoS has been integrated with FoSCoRIS mobile app and will soon integrate with existing IT platforms of FSSAI, such as INFOLNet, FoSTaC, FICS, FPVIS, and others. Sample management, improvement notices, adjudications, audit management system activities, or modules will be enabled in a phased manner in the future.
Technologies such as GPS location tagging, picture capture, and RFID 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, MCA, and others, to ensure 360-degree profiling and business validation. 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 the 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 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 the licensing or registration shall be based on a broad category approach, as earlier.
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 submitted 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 the tick-based declaration. The central theme is to enhance the ease of doing business for the food business operators and enhance user experience.
The FoSCoS shall be launched in phases. For the initial launch of FoSCoS wef 1 June, 2020, States and UTs of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa, Delhi, Odisha, Manipur, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Ladakh have been selected. Once the FoSCoS is launched in a State and UT, all licenses or registrations about the State 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 or 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 or 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 31 December 2020. Steps to be taken upon migration from FLRS to FoSCoS, FAQs, and other user-oriented material have been made available on the homepage of FLRS and FoSCoS both.
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. Over the past three months, FSSAI has conducted several training or workshops on the system’s key features.
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 the State HQ level to address users. An officer(s) needs to handle this desk whose telephone number and email needs to be disseminated to stakeholders in the State.
In case there is 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.