Food safety regulator FSSAI has mandated food business operators to mention FSSAI license or registration number on cash receipts or purchase invoice with effect from October 1 this year. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued the latest order in this regard. Since complaints remain unresolved due to lack of specific information, this move will help consumers who can lodge an online complaint against a particular food business using the FSSAI number, it said.
''Licensing and registration authorities are directed to widely publicize the policy and shall ensure its implementation mandatorily with effect from October 2, 2021,'' the FSSAI order said.
Mentioning of FSSAI number shall also improve the overall awareness, the regulator said if not mentioned, it will indicate non-compliance or nonregistration/licensing by the food business. Stating that the food business ecosystem is large, the regulator said the 14-digit FSSAI number of any food business operator is not ''easily visible and available on consumer/service recipient.'' If the FSSAI number is not available to consumers, expecting him to complain about complete coordinates is an uphill task. Even regulators find it difficult to trace the origin of the complaint and attend to it promptly, it said.
No database can be created without a unique locator code, which in the case of food safety is the FSSAI number, it added. Presently, FSSAI number is compulsory to be displayed on packaged food labels but the issue lies especially in the case of establishments such as restaurants, mithai shops, caterers, even retail stores.
Further, the regulator said that it is amending the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses Regulations to mandate the display of 'food safety display boards at all times at prominent places in the case of restaurants. However, there remains a deficit of mechanism for consumers to know the FSSAI number of the service/product provider, it noted.
It also mentioned that even in the case of pre-packaged food where the manufacturer's FSSAI number is printed on the pack, there exists a deficit of tract and trace mechanism whereby the path of the package from a manufacturer to the consumer can be traced. The invoice helps to establish this trial. With mentioning of the FSSAI number will help in improving traceability for food products, the regulator added.