Customs Authorised Officers may Clear Food consignments for Non-FSSAI Stations

·         39 Airports, 104 Seaports, 140 ICDs and 113 Land Customs Stations

[CBIC Instruction No. 10/2018-Customs dated 29 May 2018]

Subject: Single Window Project- clearance of food consignments by Customs officers at locations where FSSAI has provided delegation.

Kind reference is invited to Board Circular Nos. 03/2016-customs dated 03.02.2016 and 10/2016-customs dated 15.03.2016 regarding the operationalization of the Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT) from 1st April, 2016 at all EDI locations throughout India.

2. To recapitulate, in SWIFT, the system automatically refers food-related consignments to the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) through a message exchange system established between ICEGATE and the Food Import Clearance System (FICS) operated by FSSAI. This automatic reference of imported food consignments is done in locations where FSSAI has its offices. For the remaining Customs EDI locations, the system generates instructions directing that Customs ‘Authorized Officers’ may clear the consignment (wherever, such ‘Authorized Officer’ are present) and in other locations where ‘Authorized Officers’ are not present, the consignments were to be referred to Port Health officer for an NOC.

3. As of now, FSSAI has offices in 6 cities covering 21 ICES locations. For Customs locations where FSSAI does not have officers, FSSAI had issued order No. 1-1371/FSSAI/Imports/2015 dated 29th  March 2016 delegating authority to Customs officers to perform the functions of an ‘Authorized Officer’ under food safety laws. FSSAI has now issued order No. 1-1371/FSSAI/Imports/2015 (Part-7) dated 2nd May, 2018 notifying Customs officer as 'Authorized officers' under food safety laws. This order is in supersession of all previous notifications/ orders with regard to authorizing Customs officials to handle food import clearance. This order is also available at http://www.fssai.gov.in/home/imports/order­ guidelines.html.

4. In respect of the above notified locations, Commissioners of Customs are requested to suitably guide the officers responsible for clearance of food consignments. There should not be any Customs location which is not covered either by FSSAI officials or by the 'Authorized Officers' of Customs. Therefore, Commissioners of Customs are also required to identify Customs locations, in their jurisdiction which are not notified under the said order and bring the same to the notice of the CBIC/ Single window.

5. FSSAI has also issued a list of accredited laboratories for the testing of all food-related consignments vide order F. No. 12012/02/2017-QA dated 1st August, 2017. This list can be accessed at http://www.fssai.gov.in/home/food-testing/Orders---Notice.html. Prior to clearance, the Customs officers posted in the shed should record in the system the acceptance or rejection of the consignments as part of the examination report as this would help in carrying out risk analysis.

6. As all 'Authorized Officers' may not be familiar with procedural requirements for the clearance of food-related import consignments, it is advised to organize training sessions on ongoing basis to equip the authorized officers with the procedural and legal requirements relating to food safety. For this purpose, Commissioners of Customs are requested to contact the nearest offices of the FSSAI and organize in house training within the Custom House. Arrangements are also being made with NACIN and the FSSAI headquarters to conduct periodic training of our officers in the Regional Training Institutes (RTis).

7. Any difficulties faced by field formations pertaining to above 1ssues may kindly be referred to Single Window Project team, CBIC.

F. No. 450/146/2015-Cus IV

[Order No. 1-1371/FSSAI/Imports/2015 (Part-7) dated 2nd May, 2018]

[http://www.fssai.gov.in/home/food-testing/Orders---Notice.html]