While buying any food product what is the first that comes to your mind? To Check MRP, Manufacturing Expiry date, usage, Ingredients etc? It is rationale to check on these things, but have you ever wondered why all these products specify similar details on food products? Through this article we will explain how food business in India is regulated.
As food is an integral part of every living being, it is necessary to ensure that food which people are consuming are appropriate and not hazardous to their health. India is an agrarian country and food business supports Indian economy to a great extent. To ensure that quality of food is not compromised in any manner, it was necessary to have a regulatory body specifically dedicated towards this assurance. To implement this objective an Act was framed by Government of India for overall monitoring of food business in India.
FSS Act 2006
In India prior to 2006, various acts regulated food business in India like for meat products Meat Food Products Order,1973, was followed, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954 to overlook the adultery in food items, Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 for milk produces.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has enacted Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 which came into force with effect from August 5, 2011. This Act repealed seven Orders/Act as given below:
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Fruit Products Order, 1955
- Solvent extracted oil, De oiled meal and edible flour (control) order, 1967
- Meat Food Products Order, 1973
- Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
- Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order 1988
- Milk and Milk Products Amendment regulation-2009
Food Safety and Standard Act specifies all matters related to food safety and setting standard for the same. It aims at establishing a single point authority which specifically deals in food safety. To accomplish this vision, FSS Act established an authority Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards, 2006. It is established to create a regulatory body that ensures that food manufactured In India are fit for human consumption. Its head office is situated at Delhi. It has four regional offices located at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
FSSAI regulates standard of food items and also monitor their:
- sale and
FSSAI sets globally benchmarked standards and practices; ensures consistent and transparent enforcement and credible food testing; facilitates hassle free food imports; improves compliance through training and capacity building of regulatory staff and food businesses, educates citizens by nudging social and behavioural change. It focuses not only on the end product but the entire food chain, testing laboratories, certification authorities.
Functions of FSSAI
FSS Act 2006 has mandated following functions to be carried by FSSAI
- Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
- Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
- Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
- To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.
- Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
- Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc. receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
- Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
- Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards
- Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.
FSSAI is entrusted with setting global benchmark and setting international standards. FSSAI perform its function through various division as given below:
- Science & Standards Division (I & Ii)
- Regulations Division
- Quality Assurance Division (I & Ii)
- Regulatory Compliance Division
- Human Resource & Finance Division
- General Administration and Policy Coordination Division
- Information Technology Division
- Social and Behavioural Change Division
- Trade and International Cooperation Division
- Training Division
As per the new law, the “Food Business Operator” term has been introduced, which states that whosoever deals with food in any manner, will be held responsible for supply of safe food to the consumers. As per Section 31(1) & 31(2) of FSS Act, 2006 every Food Business Operator in the country is required to be licensed/registered under the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India. The process of licence and registration is covered under sperate article. Every person whether already engaged in food business or intends to carry food business must understand that safety of consumer is utmost and they must follow guidelines prescribed under FSSAI.