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FSSAI issues draft guidelines for direct selling FBOs


Food regulator FSSAI today issued a draft guidelines for direct selling companies engaged in food business, proposing mandatory licenses from either central or state authority, besides spelling out mechanisms for consumer grievance redressal and product recalls.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sought comments from stakeholders by February 2 on its “draft guidelines for operations of direct selling food business operators (FBOs)”.

In its first guidelines for direct selling FBOs to ensuring food safety, FSSAI said: “…It is necessary to address all ways in which food is supplied to consumers, including sale of food by direct selling companies.”

Stating that food supplied through direct selling must meet same requirements as food sold in shops, the regulator said: “It is necessary to ensure that direct selling FBOs should have mechanism to help the general public to address the issues to consume, safe and wholesome food supplied through operation of this model.”

According to the guideline, a direct FBO has been defined as an entity selling food product directly to consumers or through network of their agents, representatives, consultants, direct distributors.

FSSAI said direct selling FBOs would require to take license from it for activities related to the business, including manufacturing, import, distribution and retailing among others.

If the FBOs are operating in more than one state, then they would need to take licenses from the central licensing authority for their network of agents and salesman.

As per the draft guidelines, the FBOs would have to maintain proper records either manually or electronically of their business dealings, with complete details of their products, services, terms of contract, prices, income plan and details of direct selling agents among others.

On the issue of consumer of complaints, FSSAI said the direct selling FBOs would be responsible for maintaining effective grievance redressal mechanism and will have to address issues within seven working days.

Moreover, the FBOs will be liable for grievances arising out of sale of products by them or their agents.

On products recalls, the regulator proposed direct selling FBOs and their agents should immediately comply with recall orders issued by FSSAI and provide details to the authority.

The FBOs would also have to submit an undertaking stating that their agents would comply with Food Safety and Standards Act and rules and regulations made under this law. They would be liable to sampling of food product at any point.

Last year, FSSAI had also issued draft guidelines for food business operators in e-commerce sector.

Source: Business Standard

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