On October 16, 2006, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) declared the FSM Scheme. Small and medium food-related firms can use the Food Safety Mitra to expand their operations while staying compliant with FSSAI regulations. It also assists food enterprises with food safety registration, licensing, training, and compliance. By establishing a transparent and structured environment that supports food firms, the Food Safety Mitra (FSM) Scheme will make doing business easier. Food companies will be able to identify qualified service providers at a fair rate, lowering compliance expenses and streamlining the FSSAI registration procedure.

What is the FSM Scheme?

The food safety Mitra system was recently introduced by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Food Safety Mitra Scheme was developed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to assist all small and medium food enterprises in India in complying with food safety rules. The Food Safety Mitra (FSM) Scheme will increase ease of doing business by building a transparent and organized ecosystem that supports food enterprises, allowing them to obtain trained service providers at reasonable prices, thus cutting compliance costs.

The Food Safety Mitra (FSM) plan would also provide new job opportunities for young people, particularly those with a background in food and nutrition. To conduct their work, the FSM would be trained and certified by the FSSAI, and they would be paid by food businesses.

Eligibility of Food Safety Mitra

A Food Safety Mitra is an FSSAI-certified professional who helps with the execution of the FSS (Food Safety and Standards) Act, Rules, and Regulations.

  • The applicant should be within the ages of 21 and 60.
  • A bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, Catering Technology, Bio-Technology, Biochemistry, microbiology, Food, Dairy, Fisheries, Oil Technology, Agricultural Sciences, or Veterinary Sciences from a recognized university is required of the applicant.
  • The applicant must be familiar with the FSSAI’s laws and regulations.

Note: Applicants with an understanding of hazard identification, hygienic and sanitary practices, processing techniques, and analysis or control of pollutants and allergies will be given priority.

What is the objective of the Food Safety Mitra Scheme?

The FSM program aims to improve food safety while also creating new job opportunities in the food and nutrition industry. The FSSAI will provide training and certification to all individuals enrolled under the Food Safety Mitra. As a result, worker skill levels will improve, allowing for improved employment possibilities and food safety standards.

Types of Food Safety Mitra: Digital Mitra, Trainer Mitra, and Hygiene Mitra

According to the FSSAI, the FSM scheme can fulfill 3 separate functions:

Digital Mitra:

  • On the FSM website, fill out an application.
  • Complete the online training after you’ve been shortlisted.
  • After you’ve completed your training, go to one of the designated test centers to take the CBT (Computer Based Test).
  • A Digital Mitra certificate is issued after passing the exam, and it must be renewed every two years.

Trainer Mitra: 

  • An applicant will be enrolled in FoSTaC if he or she meets the training requirements (Food Safety Training and Certification Course).
  • To become a trained Mitra, the applicant must complete classroom instruction and testing while adhering to the FoSTaC guidelines.
  • For a period of two years, the certificate will be valid.

Hygiene Mitra: 

  • If an applicant fits the qualifications for Hygiene Mitra, he or she will be considered for the position.
  • To become a certified Hygiene Mitra, an applicant must pass classroom instruction and examinations.
  • The certificate would be valid for two years.

A Hygiene Mitra is a hybrid of a Digital Mitra and a Hygiene Mitra. As long as the applicant passes all of the minimum qualifications and criteria, he can choose from one or more Food Safety Mitra alternatives.

What are the advantages of the Food Safety Mitra Scheme for the consumer?

In India, food contamination is a major problem. As a result, contamination is conceivable at every stage of the cycle, from the acquisition of raw materials to the distribution of the food product. As a result, contaminated food can include a variety of hazardous viruses, chemical substances, parasites, and bacteria, all of which can be hazardous to human health. As a result, hazardous substances can induce a wide range of illnesses, including diarrhea and cancer. According to statistics, every year, over 600 million people become unwell as a result of consuming contaminated food, and over 4,20,000 people die as a result of it. As a result, the FSSAI is doing everything possible to improve food safety standards.

As a result, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working hard to improve the food safety standards of items supplied and consumed in India. Furthermore, the FSSAI plans to certify nearly 50,000 FSM members over the next five years, greatly improving the country’s food safety standards.

Functions of types Food Safety Mitra:

Digital Mitra:

  • Online application for a new license or registration.
  • In response to questions from authorities, there was more internet contact.
  • A license/registration change application can be completed online.
  • Annual Returns/Declarations must be submitted online.
  • Applications for product/label/advertisement claim approval are submitted online.
  • The online appeal of a Suspension License/Suspension Registration.

Trainer Mitra :

  • Providing training to food safety executives.
  • Managing the training at Eat Right Campuses.
  • Responding to requests for food safety training at enterprises.

Hygiene Mitra:

  • Following established processes, conduct a cleanliness audit of FBO locations.
  • To assist FBOs in adhering to hygiene laws
  • Food safety executives and food handlers will be trained in safe and hygienic food handling techniques.

Certification Process

Digital Mitra

  1. Register on the FSM website.
  2. On being shortlisted, complete the online training.
  3. On fulfillment of training, look for CBT at one of the defined test centers.
  4. On successful fulfillment of the assessment, the Digital Mitra certificate is circulated – to be renewed every 2 years.

Trainer Mitra

  1. If an applicant fits the criteria for being a trainer, he/she will be registered under FoSTaC.
  2. The applicant will perform the classroom training & estimates to become a certified training Mitra, as per FoSTaC norms.
  3. The validity of the license will be 2 years.

Hygiene Mitra

  1. If an applicant meets the criteria for being a hygiene auditor, he/she will be registered as an applicant for Hygiene Mitra.
  2. The applicant will finish the classroom training & charges to become a certified Hygiene Mitra.
  3. The validity of the license will be 2 years.

An applicant may choose for any one or more modifications of the Food Safety Mitra for example a Digital Mitra can further be Hygiene Mitra, given he meets all the prescribed qualifications and criteria.

Charges for Services

  • Registration application, amendment, and annual declaration for registration are all charged for Rs 100.
  • Licensing application, modification, and annual returns for a license are all priced at Rs. 500.
  • Basic training is available. I’m at an advanced level, and I’m at a unique level. Trainer Mitra will work out the details. Rs 2000/- for FBOs with fewer than 15 employees* Not to exceed Rs 5000/- for FBOs with 15 or more employees*
  • Audit of hygiene Rs 2000/- for FBOs with less than 15 employees* Not to exceed Rs 5000/- for FBOs with more than or equal to 15 employees* To be negotiated by Hygiene Mitra.

Opportunities 

  • Licensing and Registration: The FSM initiative aims to increase the number of registered food enterprises from 32 lakhs to 60 lakhs, to improve registration. Individuals and businesses will find it easier to maintain compliance and register with the FSSAI under this scheme.
  • Food Safety Training: The FSM program will provide the necessary training to improve the country’s overall food safety practices. As a result, the Food Safety Training and Certification program of the FSSAI seeks to boost the number of trained supervisors from 1.5 lakhs to ten lakhs.
  • Hygiene Auditing: An increase in the number of enterprises that undertake hygiene audits is another important opportunity provided by the Eat Right India movement. While just 600 companies are subjected to such rating audits, the FSM plans to multiply this practice by a factor of 100.
  • Job Creation: The Food Safety Mitras will make it easier for Indians to launch food-related enterprises. As a result, there would be a significant increase in the number of job openings in the food industry, worth at least INR 500 crores. Additionally, training and skill development initiatives will aid in the improvement of workers’ abilities. All of this will make it easier for these individuals to acquire employment in India.
  • Ease of Doing Business: The FSSAI is strengthening the openness and accountability of such enterprises through the Food Safety Mitra program. As a result, the well-organized ecosystem will aid in the support and strengthening of food enterprises. The speedy grievance redress procedure would also aid in improving overall business convenience.
  • Issuance of Certificate: Food Safety Mitra

After being selected from the submitted applications, the applicant must undergo online training and appear for a CBT. At one of the designated testing locations. The food safety Mitra will receive a certificate that is valid for two years after the assessment is completed. Depending on the service given by the FSM to the food company operator, intermediate training may be required.

Cancellation of Food Safety Mitra Certification

At the time of certification, the security deposit of Rs.5000 will be collected from the Food Safety Mitra. If the Food Safety Mitra decides to leave the plan, the security deposit will be repaid to the Food Safety Mitra within a certain time frame.

The areas of the cancellation which may warrant such action maybe

  • If the state food safety authorities report any FSM misbehavior.
  • Also, if the FSM refuses to send the FBO a copy of the receipt/acknowledgment.
  • If FSM fails to include his name and unique identification number in his application/return, he will be disqualified.
  • Moreover, if the FSM fails to accurately enter any information provided to him by the FBO into the application/return
  • If FSM commits a pattern of errors when it comes to filing applications/returns that he has prepared.
  • Even if FSM, despite being aware of the situation, submits a false or fraudulent application/return.
  • If the FSM is involved in any type of financial impropriety, forgery, or fraud.
  • As well as if FSM fails to follow the FSSAI’s instructions from time to time.
  • If FSM does not enhance its skills as needed by the FSSAI on a regular basis.
  • If an FSM gets a job in any government department after receiving his FSM Certificate under this Scheme.
  • Any action that may cause FBO to make a false declaration to the Authority in contravention of these rules or otherwise.

What is the validity of the Food Safety Mitra Scheme?

FSM certification is valid for two years after it is obtained. FSMs may be required to attend intermediate training depending on the type of job they undertake. A refundable security fee may be collected at the time of certification to ensure that FSMs are invested in the scheme’s success and goals. FSMs will be charged Rs 5000/- at the moment. If an FSM decides to leave the scheme, the security deposit will be reimbursed.

FSM may proceed to act as such, unless: 

  • The FSSAI has suspended or revoked the FSM Certificate he received under this program.
  • The Authority has withdrawn this plan.
  • After the validity of the FSM Certificate has expired, it will not be renewed.

In the case of a complaint or a review of the performance, the FSSAI may impose a penalty in the form of a forfeiture of the deposit, a temporary suspension, the cancellation of the FSM certificate, or the prohibition of future registration as an FSM for a certain term.

Conclusion

Food Safety Mitra initiative will ease regulatory compliance for food businesses, seize opportunities for individuals, and enhance the capacity of FSSAI and the State Food Authorities to unlock the potential for growth of the food sector by involving motivated and skilled individuals in the food ecosystem.

The Food Safety Mitra initiative will act as a marketplace for many stakeholders to meet and learn about one another, ultimately improving the convenience of conducting business. The FSMS will also establish a strong last-mile footprint for food regulation and safety. Food Safety Mitra will be an important strategic project as part of the larger Eat Right India movement, with 50,000 FSMs expected to be certified over the next five years.

Finding the process to register FSM Scheme online too slow? Take the expert advice of LegalRaasta, one of the best food consultants in the country for swift, registration of your food business for any sort of FSSAI registration.

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