FSSAI Announces the Launch of the FoSCoS Platform.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”) has announced the migration of the old Food Licensing and Registration System (“FLRS”) to a new platform called Food Safety and Compliance. System (“FoSCoS”) in a Public Notice dated May 28, 2020. This new system will serve as a one-stop-shop for all regulatory compliance activities involving a Food Business Operator (“FBO”) (such as licensing, registration, annual returns, and so on). It has been integrated with the mobile application – FoSCoSRIS – and will soon be merged with FSSAI’s current IT platforms such as INFOLNet, FoSTaC, FICS, FPVIS, and others.

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FLRS to FoSCoS Migration Strategy

FoSCoS will be introduced in stages. It is now operating in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa, Delhi, Odisha, Manipur, Chandigarh, Puducherry, and Ladakh as of June 1, 2020. The FLRS website is scheduled to be updated soon with information about the debut in the remaining states/UTs. FSSAI has also directed all States/UTs to establish a “Licensing Helpdesk” at the state level to answer user/stakeholder queries.

User IDs and passwords in FoSCoS will be the same as they were in FLRS. Mandatory documentation has also been streamlined, with many paper-based declarations being replaced with tick-based declarations.

All valid FSSAI Licensed or Registered Food Businesses must verify the details of their existing Licenses/Registration Certificates (such as License, Registration number, Name, and Address of the Food Business, Kind of Business enrolled, validity, etc.) on the Food Safety and Compliance System after the system is launched in their respective states.

Before December 31, 2020, all manufacturers with a valid FSSAI license must alter their license (without any modification cost) in accordance with the “Standardized Food Products” available on the FoSCoS website.

There was a text-box approach in FLRS for writing the name of the products to be manufactured. FoSCoS has implemented a product selection-based technique to make it easier for food enterprises to select Standardized Food Products. This new technique is only applicable to Standardized Food Product manufacturers. The methodology for makers of non-specified food, supplements, proprietary food, and substances added to food shall remain the same as in the existing FLRS.

There are no Standardized Food Products in Food Categories 15 (Ready to Eat Savories) and 16 (Prepared Food), hence a company in these categories must obtain a Central license under the proprietary food category. A new licensing category 100 has also been added, where Standardized Food Products that do not have a Food Category mapped will be mentioned.

Explanation of the Standardized Food Products Concept

The FSSAI approved the proposal to map “Standardized Food Products” with the current “Food Category System” in November 2019 for the purpose of licensing and registration for manufacturers. Variants (i.e. varieties and subtypes) of these Standardized Food Products may have different vertical criteria. To make it easier for food enterprises, the approach has been taken to give licenses based on the description of a Standardised Food Product, including its variants, unless the categorization under the Food Category System is different or there is a need for administrative reasons1.

If an FBO wants to produce another standard version of the food product or specifications for a new variant are added with the same Food Category System, this mapping will eliminate the need for additional modification needs.

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For example, in the Food Category System, “Chocolate” is classified as “Category 5.1.3.” Under Category 5.1.3, the FBO granted a license to manufacture chocolate that can produce all of its variants, including milk chocolate, milk covering chocolate, plain chocolate, plain covering chocolate, blended chocolate, white chocolate, filled chocolate, composite chocolate, praline, and couverture chocolate. Furthermore, if the FSSAI notifies a standard for any other (type or subtype) of Chocolate in addition to the sub-types listed above, the FBO is not required to apply for a new license, as long as the Food Category System of the newly notified standard remains the same.

The most significant change introduced by the transfer from FLRS to FoSCoS is the licensing mechanism for “manufacturers,” which will now be based on Standardized Food Products. The transfer also intends to prevent future food fraud, make compliance easier for stakeholders, and improve user experience.

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