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How to Import Food Products in India

How to Import Food Products in India

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Humans being have the ability to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental, psychological and social changes. Being healthy is one of the important aspects that people should focus on. Healthy foods are one of the no divisible parts of our health. Each one of us should follow safety measures to make ourselves healthy in our life full of convolution. Hence, there should be availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption 

To ensure this Government of India regulates various departments and agencies to regulate the import of food products in India. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is one of the prime body which lays down the standards, regulate and control the import of food products in India. FSSAI has obtained some of the Standard Operating Procedures for clearance of imported food products. In case the import of the food products are not as per the FSSAI regulations and prescribed procedures the consignment will be rejected and will not be allowed to be traded in India.

An individual or an entity must be cognizant of the FSSAI regulations and procedure relating to the import of food product.

Requirement of License and Registration prior to import

  • Business firm should be either Company or LLP. It is more preferable to those are having the credible form of business having limited liability.
  • Firm should have proper indirect tax registration or VAT Registration with concerned authority for sale of products in India.
  • There is a necessity Importer Exporter Code (IE Code) issued by Director General of Foreign Trade.
  • Need of product approval in case of import of non-standardised products.

Delegation of Authority

Consignment should pass various stages for clearance and reach to the domestic market is

  • Custom Department should clear Application for Custom Clearance.
  • Application of NOC (No Objection Certificate) or Provisional NOC to Food Import clearance system (FICS) of FSSAI.
  • Scrutiny of documents by an Authorised officer of FSSAI or NOC.
  • Visual inspection of the consignment and sampling thereof by the Authorised officer of FSSAI.
  • Laboratory analysis of samples collected.
  • Issuance of NOC or Provisional NOC by Food Import clearance system (FICS) of FSSAI.
  • Finally, Custom clearance of the consignment.

Procedure of above stages to be followed

Custom Department should clear Application for Custom Clearance. When the shipment arrives in India the importer or CHA shall file an application for Clearance of shipment with Department of Customs. After it files the necessary documents for generation of Bill of Entry to receive an Examination order for the consignment. There will be generation of examination order by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system of Customs, requiring NOC from FSSAI.

Application of NOC (No Objection Certificate) or Provisional NOC to Food Import clearance system (FICS) of FSSAI.- After the bill has been generated of Bill of Entry and examination order shall make an application 

Preliminary documents required to make such an application is as under:

  • Import Export Code issued by DGFT
  • FSSAI Licence issued under FSSAI Act 2006
  • Bill of the Entry
  • Examination order is generated by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system of Customs
  • Product approval, if required

There is a need for preliminary documents apart from additional documents specific to the product are required to be submitted with Food Import clearance system (FICS) of FSSAI, e.g.

  • Sanitary Import Permit Issued by Department of Animal Husbandry if products is a livestock product
  • Import Permit issued by Ministry of Agriculture, Governments of India, if the product is a primary agriculture produce or horticultural produce
  • Certificate of origin issued at the place of manufacturing or processing etc. by Authorized Person or Agency of the food consignment.
  • Registration of import contracts for poppy seeds with Central Bureau of Narcotics;
  • Certificate of Origin shall contain information on Country of origin etc. if the consignor is from a different country;
  • Certificate of Analysis with composition certificate. In case of Wine & Whiskey Test certificate is required;
  • Phyto-Sanitary Certificate issued by the Plant Quarantine Department of Exporting Country in case of horticulture produce or primary agriculture with fumigation endorsement
  • End-use declaration.
  • List of transit country.
  • Pumping Guarantee Certificate in case of edible oil imported in bulk.
  • Stuffing list, Packing List.
  • Commercial invoice as mentioned in the Bill of Entry.
  • Temperature Chart or Report or Graph, if the food consignment trans-shipped under the Cold Chain Technologies (CCT) from the port of origin to the point of import.
  • Bill of lading as mentioned in the Bill of Entry for sea consignment.
  • Air Way Bill as mentioned in the Bill of Entry for air consignment
  • Declaration by an undertaking from the manufacturer that the representative sealed sample is from the same batch of the consignment in case of aseptic package;
  • Radio Activity Certificate, if irradiation is used;
  • In addition to the documents listed above, the importer/ CHA shall submit the documents filed with the Department ofCustoms at the time of export as well as copy of the rejection certificate, if any, along with reasons for it issued by the officials of importing country before its re-export where it is a case of re-import.
  • High Sea Sale Agreement;
  • Submission any other report (s) or documents (s) or undertaking (s) or Affidavit (s) as directed and as specified by the Authorized Officer of by the Food Authority from time to time

Scrutiny of documents by Authorised officer of FSSAI or any Authorised person from the department

Each and every document needs to be verified from the authorised officer of FSSAI. The documents should be submitted by the importer thereafter. In this process officer may ask for any clarification if required in the matter. In case the things are pending after due verification and scrutiny the documents are found to be in order the authorise officer raises a demand for the requisite fee as per number of samples applied for clearance.

Visual inspection of the consignment by the Authorised officer of FSSAI

Authorised officer shall inform the date and time of visual inspection of the consignment which shall be duly acknowledged by importer/CHA.This will on the deposit of demand of fee raised by the importer/ CHA. After the visual examination and  ensurance about the remaining balance shelf life the authorised officer shall draw two samples in the presence of importer or his representative and shall seal and label it.

Laboratory analysis of samples collected

According to the standards and parameters the samples shall be analysed by the laboratory as per the prescribed under Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and regulations. The report shall be send to the officerwith a conclusion whether the product tested conforms to the standards and parameters prescribed under Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and its regulations.

Issuance of No objection certificate

NOC will be issued on the basis of the laboratory report for its conformance or non-conformance standards and parameters prescribed under FSS act 2006 and regulations, NOC or NCC (Non Conformance Certificate) is generated.

Custom clearance of the consignment

Finally when No Objection Certificate (NOC) is issued by the FICS  of FSSAI is duly submitted by the authorised person to the Customs authorities with the Department of Customs the consignment is cleared for trade or use in India.

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