The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Friday said that from April 1, the BIS licence will become a “pre-condition” for manufacturers of packaged drinking water and mineral water to obtain or renew the FSSAI licence.
According to the regulations, manufacturers need to display both – the FSSAI licence number as well as the BIS Certification mark – on their labels.
The Food Safety Authority said that this decision was made after it found that several packaged drinking water and mineral water players are in operation with an FSSAI licence but without the BIS certification mark. Food business operators in the packaged water category will need to furnish details of the BIS licence for applying for new licenses from the FSSAI. “BIS licence shall be a mandatory document while applying for the renewal of licence for packaged drinking water companies,” the order added. Also, companies will need to furnish details of the BIS licence in their annual returns. The Food Safety Authority also said that in the event of rejection of application for BIS licence, the FSSAI application or licence is also liable to be either rejected, suspended or cancelled.
This is not the first time that the FSSAI has been trying to get the packaged water industry to comply with the regulations. While established players comply , the key challenge for the regulators is getting a large number of regional players to adhere to these norms.
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, said this move will ensure that the “required quality levels in terms of hygiene and safety” is maintained and that it will “build trust in consumers”.
In 2019, the FSSAI had found that many packaged drinking water in the company either did not have BIS certification or were operating without an FSSAI licence. It had directed state food safety commissioners across the country to conduct an enforcement drive to prevent flouting of these norms
The BIS had in the past also complained to the FSSAI that a large number of food importers were importing packaged water products into India and selling them without the BIS mark. It had then directed officers tasked with clearing imported food products at notified entry points and to be cautious about clearing such consignments without the BIS certification or an FSSAI licence.
Source: Business Line
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