Food, drinks and other edibles sold at duty-free shops at all airports will no longer need an approval stamp from India’s top food regulatory body.
In a decision taken last month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has exempt these retail outlets at airports from following country’s food import regulations.
A notice in this regard was uploaded on the FSSAI website on Thursday.
“We heard their side carefully and after a thorough consultation with our experts came to this decision that these outlets being customs-bound and are not technically importing any items directly on the Indian soil, will not be subject to FSSAI inspection and licensing processes,” said Pawan Agarwal, CEO FSSAI.
“... it was decided that duty free shops would be outside the ambit of food safety standards Act 2006 and regulations made there under till the time import regulations are finally notified,” read the FSSAI notice.
The regulatory body changed its earlier stand where it had said that the provisions of the Food Safety Act and the Regulations will be applicable to all duty-free shops at all airports.
“After due consideration of representations received from various stakeholders, the issue has been re-examined and it has been decided that Duty Free Shops would be outside the ambit of the Act. The earlier clause stands deleted with immediate effect...” reads the notice.
The FSSAI’s earlier directive was reportedly challenged in the Court, after which the regulatory body re-examined the whole issue.
“It is like buying stuff for personal consumption from London, US or any other airport, where FSSAI does not get an inspection done. As long as they are following the customs regulations in terms of stipulated quantity and items on the list, it should not be a problem,” said Agarwal.
“All the protocols were followed and it was a well thought over decision,” he added.