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FSSAI license is mandatory for the sales of food product to ensure the health and safety of the consumers, asserted Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) while inaugurating FICCI’s food service retail conclave ‘Foodzania 2017’ in New Delhi today.
The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, regulates manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food to promote health and safety of consumers. It governs people involved in any food business, whether manufacturing or selling and food business operators. These include shops, stalls, hotels, restaurants, airline services and food canteens, places or vehicles where any article of food is sold or manufactured or stored for sale, he added.
In his inaugural address, Agarwal said that FSSAI is keen to further simplify the compliance processes with active industry support and consultation. He, however, added that it is mandatory for all food businesses – caterers, manufacturers, companies transporting food items and retail outlets with 25 or more people handling food to have at least one trained ‘food safety supervisor’. The supervisor should be trained under the Food Safety Training and Certification Programme (FoSTaC), designed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The supervisors would be responsible for ensuring that food quality is maintained.
Further, FSSAI CEO highlighted the need for the intended engagements from the industry side to protect and ensure the trust of consumers in the food that they intake. He added that display of the food licences in the hotel or restaurant premises is an ideal way to go forward. FSSAI is keen to rate the food business operators (FBO’s) through ‘Hygiene Variety Factors’ and will allocate start ratings to the restaurants and eating places out of six on the basis of certain factors including hygiene awareness, safety processes a among other related factors.
Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut Indian Sub-Continent & Chairperson, FICCI Food Service Retail Taskforce said that in the progressive Indian society, food expenditures hold a lot of prominence, constituting the largest retail consumption category. In fact, the Indian food retail industry is positioned globally as the sixth-largest and has been increasing at a steady pace of over 20 percent annually. Owing to this reason, the food services industry in the country has witnessed unprecedented growth over the past few years, contributing a significant proportion to India’s economic performance.
Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Foodpanda & Co-Chair, FICCI Food Service Retail Taskforce, said that Foodzania is the initiative by FICCI Food Service Retail Task Force which was formed to address the issues faced by the stakeholders in the sector. The Indian food business sector is poised to witness a sea change. The recent times have seen significant discussions in this sector, which has led to a major reform of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in India. This is anticipated to bring some game changing impact on the modern retail sector in India and Nation at large.
However, he added, it is not a one stop solution to address the challenges of this huge Industry. Various issues like infrastructure bottlenecks, multiple laws and regulations, skill gap etc. still remain the key concern and we aim to deliberate on these ground realities. We all know that food business sector is one of the more matured industry in India. Huge consumer base in India provides numerous opportunities for every player to exist and operate successfully in this sector. The industry being deeply connected with our day to day lives holds the responsibility of serving their consumers most effectively with best quality and prices.
Further, Government has allowed 100% FDI for trading including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India. 100% FDI is already permitted in manufacturing of food products through automatic route. This will provide impetus to the foreign investment in food processing sector, benefit farmers and will create employment opportunities. This has enhanced investment opportunities in India globally and have generated interest among the leading world food retailers for making investment in India. I am confident that this conference will come forward with new ideas that will boost the growth of the F&B sector, at the same time, enhance consumers’ welfare, added Kochhar.
On the occasion, Agarwal with other speakers launched the FICCI-Technopak report ‘Indian Food Services Industry: Engine for Economic Growth & Employment- A Roadmap for Unlocking Growth’, which highlights the overall potential of the food service in India and captures the emerging trends in the industry. It also throws light upon the ease of doing business scenario in the industry. The report recommends key alterations required to stimulate the growth in the food service industry, helping the industry realise its true potential. A concerted and collaborative effort is made to suggest the next steps to address various issues faced by the industry.