The Food Safety Mitra (FSM) Scheme is a government initiative in India that aims to improve food safety standards and practices in the country. The scheme aims to bring small and medium food businesses under the purview of food safety regulations. It also provides them with technical and financial assistance to meet food safety standards. Under the FSM Scheme, the government appoints trained and certified Food Safety Mitras (FSMs) to work with small and medium food businesses to ensure that they are compliant with food safety regulations.
Did You Know? The Food Safety Mitra Scheme was launched with the intention of assisting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
Why is the Food Safety Mitra Scheme Needed?
Raising the hygienic and safety standards for food products sold by small businesses is the Food Safety Mitra (FSM) scheme's goal. Participants in this program will receive instruction that the FSSAI supervises. They will have more employment options due to an addition to their skill set.
The service cost will decrease as the number of trained employees rises. This will simplify applying for an FSSAI License and reduce the organization's compliance-related expenses.
Program Types Available
The strategy will also guarantee that unethical behaviour is stopped and that the food industry is more open. This includes avoiding contaminated food, illicit goods, and tainted products. Large food vendors can choose from a trained group of service providers skilled at providing high-quality services thanks to the scheme's training program.
1. Digital Mitra
The training required to become a Digital Mitra will cover such subjects as:
- New procedures for submitting applications for licenses or FSSAI registration.
- The digital Mitra will also receive training in writing letters in response to questions posted online by the authorities. The process for applying to modify an existing FSSAI license or registration.
- Training for the company's annual returns or filing of turnover. It is appealing the registration granted to licenses that have been suspended.
2. Trainer Mitra
The following training is provided for the Trainer Mitra program:
- Conducting training sessions for the company's food product compliance supervisors.
- Conduct training at the Eat Right Campus.
- Holding training sessions for staff members designated to maintain food safety in establishments or on-demand at any other location.
3. Hygiene Mitra
According to the FSSAI's established regulations, a Hygiene Mitra is qualified to audit and examine the hygiene conditions at any food business outlet. They will assist all FBOs by guiding them on how to implement hygiene regulations properly. In these organizations, they will be able to provide hygienic and safe food management policy training to people who handle food products including the food safety supervisors.
4. Campaign Ambassadors
An ambassador for the campus is charged with educating patrons about standards for food safety. Monitoring campaigns on social media and other marketing platforms is accomplished.
Code of Behavior for the Scheme
Training and skill development will improve their ability to uphold safety and hygiene in the food industry. The following guidelines are provided for a Food Safety Mitra:
1. Maintain Integrity
- Executing inspections related to hygiene and filing vendor applications with due diligence.
- Advising and supporting the food industry concerning the procedure, associated legal obligations, and liabilities associated with FSSAI provisions.
- Give owners of food businesses advice on correcting inaccurate declarations and what can be done if they don't follow the FSSAI regulations.
- Charging only the amount set forth by the FSSAI to provide clients with service.
2. Transparency in Action
The Food Safety Mitra is required to act transparently in the following ways:
- Every service provided to the concerned vendor by the FSM must include the vendor's unique identification number if a food vendor applies for the FSM.
- When a vendor uses services, he must be fully informed of the costs involved and given all relevant receipts or payment acknowledgements.
- The FSMs should not pose as FSSAI officers because they are not. They are not permitted to use any officer names or logos without permission.
3. Quality Control
All FSMs must submit applications for FSSAI registration or certification on behalf of any vendor while upholding the highest quality standards. Additionally, they must guarantee that the services are of the highest quality. FSMs should be accessible to applicants and provide information about all aspects of the program.
4. Fee Deposit to Join the Program
The applicant may provide services related to FSSAI for two years after receiving the certificate above training. If a Food Safety Mitra decides to leave the program, they will receive a refund for the security deposit they paid within a predetermined time frame.
Eligibility Criteria for Becoming an FSM Mitra
1. For Mitra Training
The applicant must have at least 7 years of experience in the food manufacturing or processing sectors related to fish and milk.
2. Basic Level Requirements
The applicant must have a degree in Science and Technology or food/biology/microbiology/chemistry. A person with a different educational background must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the food manufacturing, catering, or retail sectors. In addition, he must have a minimum of 3 years of experience in food safety and hygiene from FSMS or any other certification program. The applicant should be well-versed in FSSAI rules and regulations and possess excellent communication and motivational skills. The applicant must be able to attend a 20-day training program offered by the authority once a year.
3. For Advanced Level
The graduation requirements are the same as for basic-level licenses, but for those with a different educational background, the experience required in the field of manufacturing, retail, or catering is 7 years, and any certification is 5 years. The requirement for a complete understanding of FSSAI rules and regulations remains unchanged.
4. Requirement for Special Course
To be eligible for a Training Mitra special course, the applicant must have at least three years of experience in food and hygiene. He or she must have food safety systems like FSMS or HACCP.
5. For Hygiene Mitra
The applicant may be between the ages of 21 and 60 years. The following educational requirements are necessary: Graduates in veterinary sciences, microbiology, catering technology, hotel management, oil technology, biochemistry, and biotechnology. Prior knowledge of the rules and regulations of the FSSAI.
Application Process for FSM Scheme
- Visit the FSSAI's online portal and select the "Apply Online" tab from the dashboard.
- Put your name, contact information, educational background, and employment history into the online application form immediately.
- After completing the online form, the applicant must carefully review the terms and conditions of the program and, if satisfied, click the "Agree" button provided below.
- The registration process cannot be completed until you click the "Register Yourself" tab.
The FSMs provide guidance on food safety practices, assist with the implementation of food safety management systems, and conduct training sessions for food business operators. The scheme is implemented by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the regulatory body responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of food in the country. In this article, information is also provided on the program's eligibility requirements. However, if a potential participant needs advice on the scheme's eligibility requirements, he can get help from a financial consulting company specialising in this area.
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