Hygiene Requirements for FSSAI License
Hygiene Requirements for FSSAI License
Any business or entity involved in the handling, processing, manufacturing, packaging, storing or distribution of food in India are required to obtain a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) License or Registration. To obtain FSSAI License, the food business must comply with the general requirements on hygienic and sanitary practices mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011. In this article, we look at such legal requirement for hygiene and sanitary practices expected from every food business operating in India.
Location and Surroundings
The food business should ideally be located away from environmental pollution and industrial activities that produce disagreeable or obnoxious odour, fumes, excessive soot, dust, smoke, chemical or biological emissions and pollutants, and which pose a threat of contaminating food. In case there are hazards of other environment polluting industry located nearby, appropriate measures should be taken by the food business to protect the manufacturing area from any potential contamination. In case of food manufacturing premise, the premises should not have direct access to any residential area.
Layout and Design of Manufacturing Premises
As far as possible, the layout of the food establishment should be such that food preparation / manufacturing processes are not amenable to cross-contamination from other pre and post manufacturing operations like goods receiving, pre-processing (viz. packaging, washing / portioning of ready-to-eat food etc).
The floors, ceilings and walls must be maintained in a sound condition to minimize the accumulation of dirt, condensation and growth of undesirable moulds. They should be made of impervious material and should be smooth and easy to clean with no flaking paint or plaster.
The doors should also be made of smooth and non-absorbent surfaces so that they are easy to clean and disinfect. The floor of food processing / food service area should have adequate and proper drainage and should be easy to clean and disinfect. Also, the floors should be sloped appropriately to facilitate drainage and the drainage should flow in a direction opposite to the direction of food preparation / manufacturing process flow. Finally, adequate control measures should be in place to prevent insects and rodents from entering the processing area from drains.
Any windows, doors & all other openings to outside environment in the food premises should be well screened with wire-mesh or insect-proof screen to protect the premise from fly and other insects / pests / animals & the doors be fitted with automatic closing springs. The mesh or the screen should be of such type which can be easily removed for cleaning.
Also, in the food manufacturing / processing premises, no person can manufacture, store or expose for sale or permit the sale of any article of food in any premises not effectively separated to the satisfaction of the licensing authority from any privy, urinal, sullage, drain or place of storage of foul and waste matter.
Equipments and Containers
Equipment and containers that come in contact with food and used for food handling, storage, preparation, processing, packaging and serving should be made of corrosion free materials which do not impart any toxicity to the food material and should be easy to clean and /or disinfect (other than disposable single use types). The equipment and utensils used in the preparation of food should also be kept at all times in good order and repair and in a clean and sanitary condition.
Any utensil or container used in food preparation or processing should not be used for any other purpose. Also, all utensil or container containing any food or ingredient of food intended for sale should at all times be either provided with a properly fitted cover/lid or with a clean gauze net or other material of texture sufficiently fine to protect the food completely from dust, dirt and flies and other insects.
Only potable water, with appropriate facilities for its storage and distribution should be used as an ingredient in processing and cooking. Water used for food handling, washing, should be of such quality that it does not introduce any hazard or contamination to render the finished food article unsafe.
Water storage tanks in the premises should hall be cleaned periodically and records of the same should be maintained in a register. Non potable water can be used provided it is intended only for cleaning of equipment not coming in contact with food, which does not come into contact with food steam production, fire fighting & refrigeration equipment and provided that pipes installed for this purpose preclude the use of this water for other purposes and present no direct or indirect risk of contamination of the raw material, dairy products or food products so processed, packed & kept in the premise. Finally, non potable water pipes should be clearly distinguished from those in use for potable water.
Drainage and Waste Disposal
Food waste and other waste materials should be removed periodically from the place where food is being handled or cooked or manufactured to avoid building up. A refuse bin of adequate size with a proper cover preferably one which need not be touched for opening should be provided in the premises for collection of waste material.
The disposal of sewage and effluents (solid, liquid and gas) should be in conformity with requirements of Factory / Environment Pollution Control Board. Adequate drainage, waste disposal systems and facilities should be provided and they should be designed and constructed in such manner so that the risk of contaminating food or the potable water supply is eliminated.
Waste storage should be located in such manner that it does not contaminate the food process, storage areas, the environment inside and outside the food establishment and waste should be kept in covered containers and should be removed at regular intervals. No waste should be kept open inside the premise and should be disposed of in an appropriate manner as per local rules and regulations including those for plastics and other non environment friendly materials.
Personnel Facility and Toilets
Personnel facilities should include those for proper washing and drying of hands before touching food materials including wash basins and a supply of hot and /or cold water as appropriate; separate lavatories, of appropriate hygienic design, for males and females separately; and changing facilities for personnel and such facilities should be suitably located so that they do not open directly into food processing, handling or storage areas. Also, rest and refreshments rooms should be separate from food process and service areas and these areas should not lead directly to food production, service and storage areas.