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Clearance of Edible Items Customs Department in India follows certain guidelines for custom clearance of food items which includes checks on the condition of the hold in which the products were transported, ensuring whether they meet the requirement of storage as per the nature of the products, and does not in any way cause deterioration or contamination of the products. Customs Department is also required to check the physical/visual appearance of goods in terms of possible damage and its compliance with labeling requirements under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules and the Packaged Commodities Rules. In addition, any imported food item, at the time of its import, should have a valid shelf life of not less than 60 % of original shelf life. The Customs Department ensures that the articles which do not meet this condition are not allowed clearance for home consumption. Apart from the checks on all the consignments of edible/food products imported through Ports, Inland container Depots, Air Cargo Complexes, Container Freight Stations and Land Customs Station the samples of imported food products are required to be referred to the Port Health Officer for testing. For alleviating the difficulties of importers, it has been decided that pending receipt of the test repot, such consignments be allowed to be stored in warehouses under Section 49 of the Customs Act, 1962. The import of plants and plant materials is regulated as per the Plants, Fruits, Seeds (Regulation of Import into India) Order {PFS} Order, 1989 issued under the Destructive Insects & Pests Act, 1914 to prevent introduction of exotic pests and diseases into the country. The Livestock Importation Act, 1898 regulates the imports of livestock and livestock products in a manner that such imports do not adversely affect the health of human and animal population of the country. As per the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, any product not fulfilling the statutory provisions is not allowed to be imported into the country. Likewise, there are several rules, regulations, orders, notifications, etc. issued by the Government, laying down procedures as to how the imports of above products are to be dealt with. The Customs has a pivotal role to play because, it is the agency stationed at the border to enforce the rules, regulations and orders issued by various administrative Ministries. The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures enables member countries to take sanitary and phytosanitary measures necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement. The Agreement permits the member countries to carry out a detailed import risk analysis for applying sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Consistent with our obligations under the WTO, the Government has issued several orders, notifications, etc. in recent months to regulate the importation of food items, livestock products, plant materials and other agricultural commodities. Customs Clearance Procedure for Food Items:

Circular No.36/2001-Customs dated 15.6.2001 (issued from F.No.450/21/98-CUS.IV) lays down detailed guidelines for examination and testing of food items prior to customs clearance. This circular enjoins Customs to undertake certain general checks in addition to testing of samples. First, the Customs should check the condition of the hold in which the products were transported. This is basically to see whether they meet the requirements of storage as per the nature of the product, and does not in any way cause deterioration or contamination of the products. In the second place, the Customs is required to check the physical/visual appearance of goods in terms of possible damage ­ whether it is swollen or bulged in appearance and also for rodent/insect contamination or presence of filth, dirt, etc. The third important thing is compliance of labeling requirements under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules and the Packaged Commodities Rules. This includes ensuring that the label is written not only in any foreign language, but also in English. The details of ingredients in descending order, date of manufacture, batch number, best before date, etc. are other mandatory requirements. Further, all products will also have to indicate details of best before on all food packages. The Customs should check that imported food articles meet the above labeling requirements. Recently, the DGFT has issued a notification {No.22(RE-2001/1997-2002) dated 30.7.2001 to the effect that the imported food item, at the time of its import, should have a valid shelf life of not less than 60% of original shelf life. In other words, the time period between `best before date' and `date of import' should be at least 60% of time period between `date of manufacture' and `best before date'. The Customs has to ensure that the food articles which do not meet this condition are not allowed clearance for home consumption. Apart from the general checks referred to above, all the consignments of edible/food products imported through Ports, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Air Cargo Complexes (ACCs), Container Freight Stations (CFSs) and Land Customs Stations (LCSs) are required to be referred to the Port Health Officer (PHO) for testing. For alleviating the difficulties of importers it has been decided that pending receipt of the test report, such consignments can be allowed to be stored in warehouses under section 49 of the Customs Act, 1962. The circular makes it clear that clearance for home use will be allowed only after receipt of the test report. If the product fails the test, the Customs authorities will ensure that the goods are re-exported out of the country by following the usual adjudication procedure or destroyed as required under the relevant rules. As regards ICDs/CFSs/Ports/ACCs/LCSs where PHOs are not available, the Customs is required to draw the samples and get them tested from the nearest Central Food Laboratory or a Laboratory authorized to conduct such testing by the Directorate General of Health Services. In addition to testing of food items under the PFA Act, 1954, these items shall also be subject to examination/testing to ensure compliance of the requirements of other Acts, Regulations and Orders such as Meat Food Products Order, 1973, PFS Order, 1989, the Livestock Importation Act, etc., if applicable, before these are allowed clearance into the country. Customs Clearance Procedure for Livestock Products:

The livestock products, namely, (i) meat and meat products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat, tissue or organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat; (ii) egg and egg powder; (iii) milk and milk products; (iv) bovine, ovine and caprine embryos, ova or semen; and (v) pet food products of animal origin are allowed to be imported only against a sanitary import permit issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. For this purpose, a detailed import risk analysis is carried out and a sanitary import permit is issued only after the concerned authorities are satisfied that the import of the consignment will not adversely affect the health of the animal and human population of this country. The Import Permit lays down the specific conditions that will have to be fulfilled in respect of the consignment, including pre-shipment certifications and quarantine checks. The Permit also specifies the post-import requirements with regard to quarantine inspection, sampling and testing. The Import Permit is generally issued for a period of six months and can be extended by the concerned authorities for a further period of six months. As mentioned earlier, the livestock products are allowed to be imported into India only through the sea ports or airports located at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, where the Animal Quarantine and Certification Services Stations are located. On arrival at the port/seaport, the livestock product is required to be inspected by the officer in-charge of the Animal Quarantine and Certification Services Station or any other veterinary officer duly authorized by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. After inspection and testing, wherever required, quarantine clearance is accorded by the concerned quarantine or veterinary authority for the entry of the livestock product into India. If required in public interest, the quarantine or veterinary authority may also order the destruction of the livestock product or its return to the country of origin. Wherever any disinfection or any other treatment is considered necessary in respect of any livestock product, it is the importer who on his own or at his cost has to arrange for disinfection or other treatment of the consignment under the supervision of a duly authorized quarantine or veterinary officer. The Customs will have to ensure that the livestock products are granted clearance for home consumption only after necessary permission is granted by the concerned quarantine or veterinary authorities. It may be noted that the Government has recently issued a notification on 30.5.2001 prohibiting import of all poultry products from Hongkong (China), Honduras, Italy, Laos and Pakistan for a period of six months from the date of issue of this notification in view of reported outbreak of Avian Influenza (Fowl Plague) in these countries. The products prohibited for import are domestic and wild birds, day-old chicks, turkeys, poultry and other newly hatched avian species, hatching eggs, semen of domestic and wild birds, fresh meat of domestic and wild birds, products of animal origin (from birds) destined for use in animal feeding or for industrial use, pathological material and biological products (from birds) which have not been processed to ensure the destruction of Avian Influenza (Fowl Plague) virus. The question of allowing clearance of these products for home use, therefore, does not arise. Plant/Plant Materials for Sowing/Planting/Propagation/Consumption:

The above products are allowed to be imported only on the basis of an Import Permit issued by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation. The Import Permit is issued after conducting a detailed import risk analysis. This Permit is generally issued for a period of six months and can be extended by the concerned authorities for a further period of six months. The Department of Agriculture & Co-operation has issued detailed guidelines for inspection and clearance of plant/plant materials. The basic features of the guidelines are given below:(a) Registration of application: The importer or his authorized Custom House Agent is required to file an application at the Plant Quarantine Station in respect of each consignment immediately upon arrival at the port. In case of perishable consignments, such application can be filed in advance to enable the Plant Quarantine authorities to organize inspection/testing on priority. Along with application for registration, copies of documents namely, import permit, Phyto-sanitary certificate issued at the country of origin, copy of bill of entry, invoice, packing list and fumigation certificate, etc. are required to be submitted. After scrutinizing the application, the Plant Quarantine Officer registers the application. The assessed inspection fee is required to be paid by the importer or his authorized agent. In the case of import of plant and plant materials through passenger baggage and post parcels, no such application is required to be filed. (b) Sampling/inspection/fumigation of consignments: The importer or his authorized Custom House Agent is required to arrange for inspection/sampling of the consignment. In the event of live insect infestation having been noticed, the importer or his authorized Custom House Agent shall arrange for fumigation of consignment by an approved pest control operator at his own cost under the supervision of the Plant Quarantine officer. (c) Release/detention of consignments: A release order is issued to Customs, if a consignment on inspection is found to be free from pests. However, in case a consignment is found to be infested with live pests, the same is permitted clearance only after fumigation and re-inspection. The detention order is issued, if the consignment is imported in contravention of the PQ Regulations, for arranging deportation failing which the same shall be destroyed at the cost of importer under the supervision of the Plant Quarantine Officer, in presence of Customs Officers after giving due notice in advance i.e. for perishable plant material 24-48 hours and 7 days in other type of plant material. The Customs will have to ensure that plant/plant material (primary agricultural products) are granted clearance for home consumption only after necessary permission is granted by the concerned Plant and Quarantine Officer. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), 1954 and PFA Rules 1955.[Circular No.58/2001-Customs dated 25.10.2001.] 1Import consignments of food articles are required to be tested under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and other allied laws before customs clearance. 2.1 The customs shall undertake the following general checks in addition to testing of sample in terms of sub-paragraph 2.2 or 2.3 and Paragraph 3 prior to clearance of food items and if the product does not satisfy these requirements clearance shall not be allowed.

(a) The condition of the hold in which the products were transported should be checked to see whether they meet the requirements of storage, as per the nature of the product, and does not in any way cause deterioration or contamination of the products. (b) Physical/visual appearance in terms of possible damage whether it is swollen or bulged in appearance; and also for rodent/insect contamination or presence of filth, dirt etc.- should be checked. (c) The product should meet the labeling requirements under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules and the Packaged Commodities Rules. This includes ensuring that the label is written not only in any foreign language, but also in English. The details of ingredients in descending order, date of manufacture, batch no., best before date etc. are mandatory requirements. All products will also have to indicate details of best before on all food packages. (Reference Ministry of Health notification No. GSR 537(E) dated 13th June 2000) 2.2 All consignments of edible/food products imported through ports, airports, ICDs, CFSs, Land Customs Stations shall be referred to PHOs for testing and clearance shall be allowed only after receipt of the test report. Pending receipt of test report, such consignments may be allowed to be stored in warehouses under section 49 of the Customs Act, 1962. If the product fails the test, the Customs authorities will ensure that the goods are re-exported out of the country by following the usual adjudication procedure or destroyed as required under the relevant rules. 2.3 The perishable food items like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese etc. have quick turn over and which, once opened, can lead to quick spoilage, if not kept in refrigerated conditions. On import of such items for direct use by the importers such as, hotels, etc., notwithstanding anything contained in para 2.2 above, the consignments should not be subject to drawal of samples and testing prior to clearance of the same. Such items should be cleared after conducting the checks as mentioned in sub-para 2.1 above and relying on the certificates from the internationally known testing labs or government labs about these products conforming the food safety and quality of such products. However, if perishable items such as raw meat, fish etc. are not meant for direct use by the importer, samples shall be taken and tested prior to clearance of the same as mentioned in para 2.2 above. 2.4 As regards ICDs / CFSs/ports airports LCSs, where Port Health Officers are not available, the Customs shall draw the samples and get these tested from the nearest Central Food Laboratory or a laboratory authorized for such testing by the Directorate General of Health Services. 3. In addition to testing of food items under the PFA Act, 1954, these items shall also be subject to examination/testing to ensure compliance of the requirements of other Acts, regulations and orders such as Meat Food Products Order, 1973. Plants, Fruits and Seeds (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 1989, the Livestock Importation Act etc. for the time being in force if these are also covered by these Acts/Orders, before these are allowed clearance into the country. Standards of weight and measures act & weights and measure {Packaged Commodities} Rules 1977

The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 are legislative measures are designed to establish fair trade practices with respect to packaged commodities. The rules prescribe that the basic rights of consumers regarding vital information about the nature of the commodity, the name and address of the manufacturer, the net quantity, date of manufacture, and sale price are provided on the label. There are additional mandatory labeling requirements for food items covered under the PFA. The Department of Consumer Affairs in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution is the regulatory authority and enforcement agency. Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976- An overview Standards of Weights and Measures Act were passed to establish standards of weights and measures and regulate its use. Packaging Commodities Rules were framed under the Act to regulate packaging commodities. Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985 was passed with a view to enable State Governments to enforce provisions of Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976. The Act is administered by Ministry of Civil Supplies and is primarily to protect the consumers. The Act can be termed as `3 in 1' Act as it is designed to (a) standardize weights and measures (b) Control manufacture and sale of weights and measures to ensure accuracy (c) Control over packaging commodities. Standard units - The Act specifies that metric system will be used for weight or measure of any unit [section 4(1)]. The Act gives specifications of base units i.e. Meter (for length), kilogram (for mass), second (for time), ampere (for electric current), Kelvin [for thermo-dynamic temperature), candela (for luminous intensity), mole (for amount of substance) and international form of Indian numerals (for basis of numeration). Act provides that derived, supplementary or other units will be prescribed by Central Government by rules [section 12]. National prototypes and standards - Central Government will prepare national prototype of kilogram and Meter certified by International Bureau of Weights and Measures (section 15). For other units, Central Government will prepare national standards, which will be certified periodically by International Bureau of Weights and Measures (section 16). Reference standards, secondary standards and working standards will also be made and kept as prescribed by Central Government (section 18). Reference standards will be supplied by Central Government to State Government. The secondary and working standards will be verified and stamped by prescribed authority [section 26]. Prohibition of non-standard weight or measure - Use of non-standard weight or measure and non-standard numeral is prohibited (section 21). Manufacture of non-standard weight and measure is also prohibited [section 22]. Inscription on weight, measures or other goods will be only in accordance with standard unit such as weight, measure or numeration (section 23). Non-standard weight and measure can be manufactured or inscribed only with permission of Central Government for scientific investigation or exports. [Thus, use of units like inch, foot, pound, acre etc. is indeed prohibited]. Use of such non-standard units in any notification, rule, contract, deed or any instrument is prohibited under section 80. Such contract or agreement shall be void - a very harsh provision not known to many [section 80(3)]. Even use of numerals in Devnagri is prohibited. Numerals must be only in Roman i.e. international form, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.

Department of Legal Metrology - Central Government has formed Department of Legal Metrology. Director, Additional Director, Asst. Director and other staff will be appointed by Central Government for exercising the powers and duties under the Act [section 28]. Powers to these officers will be assigned by Central Government. Powers exercisable by these officers can also be delegated to State Government officers by Central Government. The Director and other officers of department of Legal Metrology will be `public servants' within the meaning of section 21 of IPC. Manufacturer to have license - Manufacturers of weights and measures should have a license (section 37). They have to get their models of weight and measures approved by Central Government before obtaining license for manufacture. Verification and stamping of weights - Weights and measures sent from one State to another for sale or use will be verified and stamped before dispatch. Weights which are dispatched as it is i.e. without any dismantling before dispatch are called `weights and measures of first category'. Weights which are required to be dismantled before dispatch and re-assembled and installed at other end, are called `weights and measures of second category'. The weights and measures of second category will have to be again verified and stamped at other end [section 41]. Provisions regarding commodities packed for sale or distribution - Most of the provisions discussed so far relate to standardization of weights and measures, manufacture and export of them etc. Only limited number of persons is affected by these provisions. However, many manufacturers and dealers are affected by provisions in respect of packaging commodities. Provisions regarding packaging commodities apply to a person who (a) make, manufacture, pack, sell or cause to be packed or sold or (b) distribute, deliver, or cause to be distributed or delivered or (c) offer, expose or possess for sale: any commodity in packaged form [section 39]. The package or label securely attached to such packing must contain declaration on a package or on label as prescribed. Notification No. 44(RE-2000)/1997-2002, dated 24.11.2000: [Packaging, Labeling & MRP] In November, 2000, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had issued a notification {No.44 (RE-2000)/1997-2002, dated 24.11.2000} to regulate the imports of packaged commodities into India. As per this notification, all packaged products, which are subject to the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977, when produced/packed/sold in the domestic market, shall be subject to compliance of all the provisions of the said Rules, when imported into India. It is provided that compliance of the provisions of the notification shall be ensured by the Customs before the consignments are cleared for home consumption. The notification further states that all pre-packaged commodities imported into India shall, in particular, carry the declarations, such as, name and address of the importer, net quantity, month and year of packing and maximum retail price. It has been clarified by the DGFT vide Circular No.38(RE-2000)/1997-2002, dated 22.1.2001 that the labeling requirements is applicable only to imports of those pre-packaged commodities which are intended for retail sale. As imported raw materials, components, bulk imports, etc. would invariably

undergo further processing or assembly before they are sold to consumers, these imports shall not invite the application of labeling requirements. Original Text "S.O (E) - In exercise of powers conferred under section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 read with paragraph 1.3 and 4.1 of the Export and Import Policy, 1997-2002, the Central Government hereby makes the following amendments in the ITC(HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items , 1997-2002 published on 31st March, 1997 (RE-98) as amended from time to time, namely ­ 2. The following shall be added after paragraph 4 of Chapter 1A: General notes regarding import policy, of ITC(HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 19972002: "4. All such packaged products, which are subject to provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 when produced/ packed/ sold in domestic market, shall be subject to compliance of all the provisions of the said rules, when imported into India. The compliance of these shall be ensured before the import consignment of such commodities is cleared by Customs for home consumption. All prepackaged commodities, imported into India, shall in particular carry the following declarations: Name and address of the importer; Generic or common name of the commodity packed; Net quantity in terms of standard unit of weights and measures. If the net quantity in the imported package is given in any other unit, its equivalent in terms of standard units shall be declared by the importer; (d) Month and year of packing in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported; (e) Maximum retail sale price at which the commodity in packaged form may be sold to the ultimate consumer. This price shall include all taxes local or otherwise, freight, transport charges, commission payable to dealers, and all charges towards advertising, delivery, packing, forwarding and the like, as the case may be. 5. A new Appendix V to Schedule I of ITC(HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 1997-2002, shall be annexed as per annexure `A' of this Notification. 6. Import of all the products as per Appendix V to Schedule I of the ITC(HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 1997-2002, shall be subject to compliance of the mandatory Indian Quality Standards as mentioned in column 2 of the said Annexure, which are also applicable to domestic goods. For compliance of this requirement, all manufactures/ exporters of these products to India shall be required to register themselves with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)."

( N.L. LAKHANPAL) Director General of Foreign Trade and ex-officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India"

(a) (b) (c)

Notification No.3 (RE-2001)/1997-2002, dated 31.3.2001: [Regulating import of meat and poultry products, edible/food products and primary agricultural products]

In the wake of removal of quantitative restrictions, the DGFT has issued a notification No. 3(RE2001)/1997-2002,dated 31.3.2001 for regulating import of meat and poultry products, edible/food products and primary agricultural products. As per this notification import of meat and poultry products will be subject to the compliance of conditions regarding manufacture, slaughter, packing, labeling and quality conditions as laid down in Meat Food Products Order, 1973. The notification also states that all manufacturers of meat/poultry products exporting their goods to India shall be required to meet the sanitary and hygienic requirements as stipulated under Schedule-II of the aforementioned Order. The imported product shall also comply with the specified packaging, labeling and quality standards as laid down in Schedule-IV of the Order. It is provided that the Customs has to ensure compliance of these conditions before allowing clearance of the consignments. In regard to edible/food products, the notification stipulates that the import of such products, domestic sale and manufacture of which are governed by Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, shall be subject to all the conditions laid down in the said Act. Import of all these products thus will have to comply with the quality and packaging requirements as laid down in the aforesaid Act. The notification enjoins Customs to ensure compliance of these conditions before allowing clearance of the consignments. Further, as per the aforesaid notification, import of all primary agricultural commodities will be subject to a Bio Security & Sanitary-Phytosanitary Import Permit, to be issued by Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, as per conditions of PFS Order, 1989. The Permit will be based on import risk analysis of the product, to be conducted on scientific principles, in accordance with the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures. The import risk analysis will be conducted based on various scientific principles, including inter alia, (a) the type of pests etc. known to be associated with the particular product in the exporting country; (b) the organisms already established in India; and (c) the potential impact of such organisms on India's international trade.

BIS Applicability

BIS has on record, standards for most of the processed foods; these standards in general cover raw materials permitted and their quality parameters, hygienic conditions under which the product is manufactured and packaging and labeling requirements.BIS has identified certain items like food colors/additives, vanaspati and containers for their packing, milk powder and condensed milk for compulsory certification. Applicability of the act is mandatory vide DGFT Notification No.44(RE-2000)/1997-2002, dated 24.11.2000;

Applicability of PFS Order 1989

As mentioned earlier, import of plants and plant materials into the country is regulated under the Destructive Insects & Pests (DIP) Act, 1914 and the PFS Order, 1989. The PFS Order, 1989 was amended in 1992 to exempt the requirement of Import Permit in respect of plants, fruits, seeds and any other material of plant origin imported for consumption. Further, such material imported as accompanied baggage and through international postal channels was also allowed to be imported without a Phyto-sanitary Certificate or an Import Permit. The Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture & Co-operation) has since issued a notification on 1.5.2001 amending the provisions of the PFS Order introduced in 1992. As per the amendment made, with effect from 1.6.2001 no consignment shall be imported even for consumption unless it is accompanied by an Import Permit (and also, of course by an Official Phytosanitary Certificate) issued by the authorized officer. However, cut flowers, garlands, bouquets, fruits and vegetables weighing less than 2 Kgs. imported for personal consumption is allowed without a Phytosanitary Certificate or an Import Permit. Likewise, the relaxation of Import Permit for import of (a) Mushroom Spawn Culture by 100% Export Oriented Units; (b) tissue culture materials of any plant origin and flower seeds granted earlier will continue. Applicability of the Livestock Importation Act, 1898 The Livestock Importation Act, 1898 has been recently amended vide the Livestock Importation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2001 which was promulgated on 5.7.2001.this to regulate the import of livestock products in such a manner that these imports do not adversely affect the human and animal health population of the country. Under the said Livestock Importation Act, 1898, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has issued a notification on 7.7.2001 to regulate the import of livestock products, namely, (i) meat and meat products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat, tissue or organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat; (ii) egg and egg powder; (iii) milk and milk products; (iv) bovine, ovine and caprine embryos, ova or semen; and (v) pet food products of animal origin. A procedure has also been laid down to regulate such imports. The notification, inter-alia, provides that import of livestock products will be allowed against valid sanitary import permit issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying and the same will be allowed only through the airports and seaports at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai which have Animal Quarantine and Certification Services Stations

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