FSSAI Clarifies Licensing & Labelling Requirements for Airlines

FSSAI recently carried out a monitoring operation during, which discrepancies were uncovered in the food supply chain serving in-flight passengers. The inspection brought to light concerns regarding the Kind of Businesses (KoBs) listed on the FSSAI licenses of the food business operator involved. Consequently, an advisory dated March 7, 2024, has been issued by the FSSAI to tackle these issues.

Throughout the inspections, it was noted that Flight Kitchen Operators also referred to as caterers situated in and around the airport areas are mainly responsible for food preparation.

Subsequently, these operators transport the prepared meals to flights using specialized vehicles like insulated refrigerated vans or wagons. Upon boarding the flight, the airline staff, known as in-flight food services, serves the meal to passengers. The meals served can either be freshly prepared or pre-packaged.

For Flight Kitchen Operators:

Appropriate Endorsement of KoBs by Flight Kitchens and in-flight catering services, and Labelling requirements for prepared food being served in flights/trains and other moving vehicles

  1. Kindly support food services (Caterer) KoB by endorsing their FSSAI license.
  2. If operators utilize their vehicles for food transportation, a separate Trade (Retail) KoB endorsement is not required. Otherwise, transporters must require an individual FSSAI license for each vehicle.

For In-flight Food Services (Airlines):

fssai observed that food is being prepared by Flight Kitchen Operators [i.e. Caterers located in and around the vicinity of the airports] and then transferred through specialized vehicles like insulated refrigerated vans/wagons to the flights. In the flights, food is then served to passengers of that particular flight through the staff of the Airlines [i.e Inflight Food Services]. The served food can be both prepared and pre-packaged.

  1. Acquire a single Head Office (Kind of Business) FSSAI License, while also endorsing food services (Caterer) KoB.
  2. If engaged in the sale of pre-packaged food, include Trade/Retail- (Retailer) under the same license.
  3. Obtained the necessary manufacturing or importing license, if applicable.
  4. If conducting food business operations outside of flights, secure a separate FSSAI license for those premises.

Training course on FSSAI Regulation of Food Labelling and Packaging…. Click here

The airline operators are required to ensure that passengers are well-informed about the FSSAI license numbers of both the caterer/manufacturer and the airline operators. Key details for packaged foods, such as the caterer’s name, FSSAI license number, packaging date, and time, must be identified on the packaging along with other relevant information as per FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, as per the recent advisory from the authority. Furthermore, passengers should be informed that they have the option to file food-related complaints on the FSSAI’s Food Safety Contact App.

Flight Kitchen operators and In-flight food service providers are required to adhere to the FSS Act, 2006 and its associated Rules and Regulations, which also include the FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations,2020.

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