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New FSSAI notice on RAFT kit to improve cheap, real-time testing of food
Thursday, 11 February, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The apex food regulator has issued a notice on the process of approval of the Rapid Analytical Food Testing (RAFT) Kit, Equipment, or Method for the purpose of testing of food.

According to the notice, the applicants should submit separate applications for each kit, equipment or method and each application should be accompanied by separate application processing fee Rs.2000 along with 18% GST for approval of a single rapid food testing kit, equipment or method in a single application form.

Also, the application should be submitted with proper justification for each of the products separately along with all necessary and supporting documents (validation certificate in accordance with international guidelines, and data).

Further, says the notice that no application will be accepted for instruments used for analysis of general parameters like pH, density or routine laboratory equipment and accessories and so on.

“Such applications, if received will be summarily rejected and no fee shall be refunded while any kit capable of detecting a class of antibiotics as per FSSR will be considered by the committee,” reads the notice.

Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, says, "The purpose of Rapid Analytical Food Testing (RAFT) Kit/Equipment/Method is to carry out real-time testing of food. Not only will it aid the Food Safety Officers and on-field analysts with improved efficiency in food testing, but it will also provide us with a cost-effective alternative, reducing the testing costs in food labs."

Bhadri added, "Innovations augmenting the regulatory and screening process are what we need. The RAFT kit method will certainly act as an integral component in various food quality programmes in the food industry."

The timeline for processing of the application include- scrutiny of RAFT application by the RAFT Secretariat in 3 working days from date of receipt of application, followed by desktop audit of technical components of the application and subsequent recommendation to the Scientific Panel on Methods of Sampling & Analysis (SPMSA) by the RAFT Committee in 4-6 weeks followed by ratification of the recommendation of RAFT Committee by the SPMSA at the first available meeting (usually panel meetings are held once in 3 months) and approval of the recommendation of the SPMSA by the Competent Authority of FSSAI immediately after finalisation of minutes of the panel meeting. After which the issuance of Conformance Certificate will take 6-7 working days from the date of approval by the Competent Authority subject to deposition of requisite fee by the applicant.

The Conformance Certificate will be valid for three years from the date of issue. However FSSAI may withdraw or suspend the Conformance Certificate issued to applicant on the basis of its own investigation or complaint received in this regard or voluntarily withdrawal request from the applicant.
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