FSSAI Issues Guidance on Food Hygiene and Safety Amid COVID-19

Although food is not identified as a potential carrier of the novel coronavirus, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued guidance on food hygiene and safety amidst the pandemic. This is done with a view to ensure that all possible precautions against human-to-human transmission are taken. Additionally, the implementation of Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) under Schedule IV is mandatory.

Schedule IV of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011 prescribes several measures to ensure food hygiene and safety. However, the COVID-19 situation demands additional measures from FSSAI to avoid the human-to-human spread of the disease.

Accordingly, the guidance mentions the advisory by the World Health Organization for curbing the transmission of the virus. The WHO advised social distancing and high personal hygiene standards. Thus, based on the best practices currently recognized and adopted internationally, the FSSAI guidance prescribes specific measures. Such as maintaining high levels of personal hygiene; excluding COVID-19 infected persons from the operations; practising social distancing; and appropriate cleaning/sanitization of the food operations’ premises, food contact materials etc. FSSAI guidance is primarily intended for all types of food businesses including food service, transport and retail operations.