Food regulator FSSAI to be revamped for quicker nods

Te Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will come out with new regulations on product approvals in a few months to simplify and speed up the process, a senior official said on Tuesday.

''FSSAI is in the process of having the right kind of regulations to set its house in order. In another couple of months, whatever difficulty we (firms) have in getting product approvals or diversifying products or coming out with new products to fulfil demand in the market, possibly that kind of situation will substantially change,'' said Ranglal Jamuda, secretary, ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI), at an Assocham even in New Delhit

''All the operational difficulties that have upset us for the last couple of months will be taking good shape,'' he added.

The FSSAI had scrapped product approvals following a Supreme Court order on 19 August that questioned the procedure followed for the approvals by the apex food regulator.

Jamuda urged the existing and prospective entrepreneurs to apply in large numbers to avail themselves of services from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).

The bank has set up a Rs2,000 crore fund for lending to processing industries in mega food parks and designated food parks.

''So far seven applications have been sanctioned worth total amount of Rs255 crore. If we do not utilise this fund by the end of this financial year it would be very difficult to ask the finance ministry to extend this facility in coming years,'' Jamuda said.

He also suggested that Nabard delegate more powers to its regional offices so that things could move much faster in this regard.

Underlining that this fund support is available only for designated food parks, the secretary said, ''As of today we have notified about 146 designated food parks including mega food parks across the country; and five out these have become operational and another three are likely to become operational in the next couple of months.''