|While most wine importers are blissfully unaware of FSSAI and the nightmares it is about to bring to their life, a recent policy of strict adherence of an earlier notice by this government body, Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, dated 25 February, 2011 requiring testing of samples of every label of imported wine before the shipment is released by the Customs is going to further add to the costs and regulatory stifling process, writes Subhash Arora who fully appreciates and supports the need for the sample checks but strongly hopes that it takes a pragmatic approach.|
|The FSSAI Notice of 25 February, 2011 demanded a strict compliance as per food and safety and standards authority directives dated 2 December 2010. This included imported package foodstuff, specified various requirements that included importer’s name, weight of the product, month of manufacture, declaration of Best Before date of month on the package, nutritional information and declaration of whether it is ‘vegetarian’ or ‘non-vegetarian’ had been made mandatory.
With immediate effect, all such items which fall in Chapter 22 (wine which falls under chapter 2204 is also under this notice) will require for any imports, a required lab test before Custom allows to clear the goods from the Port. This is applicable in all ports within India, whether it is for home consumption or meant for Re-Export. Chapter 2204 – 2208, which includes all form of alcohol, wines, beers, port & sherries & hard spirits are all under the purview of the FSSAI henceforth.
‘The implementation has been put in force almost 10 days back,’ says Debjit Dasgupta, Secretary of the Delhi Foreign Liquor Association, formed last year. A couple of importers whose shipments landed at the port during this week in Delhi have been running from pillar to post, trying to get the material released at least for the current shipments.