In yet another reply, the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwin Kumar Choubey informed the Lok Sabha that the food being imported into India from COVID-19 affected countries is safe for human consumption and a committee constituted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has opined that as of now, there is no conclusive evidence for foodborne transmission of COVID-19.
The FSSAI committee also issued a press release to this effect on March 5 after interaction with WHO officials to address the concerns of consumers and the general public in this regard. Commissioners of Food Safety of all states and union territories were also advised to vide letter dated March 6 to take appropriate steps to disseminate correct information to consumers and the general public to counter any false propaganda. During the lockdown period, import clearance of food items and food testing laboratories including National Food labs at NCR and Kolkata and FSSAI accredited private labs were classified as essential services and regular import clearance procedure was followed.
The FBOs, other than manufacturers, were allowed to temporarily operate their businesses on the basis of an application for license registration submitted online. This facility has been extended up to December 31 this year. The FBOs, whose FSSAI license and registration expired with effect from August 1, 2019, has been given a grace period and allowed to continue their food businesses with their existing license or registration number without any late fee, the minister informed.