Which organization regulates food quality in India?
The ‘Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’ (FSSAI) is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
It is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. The FSSAI has been established under the ‘Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006’
FSSAI helps to regulate and it also supervises the functioning of the food businesses in India. It is mandatory for all the food business operators, distributors, retailers and the storage houses to get an FSSAI license.
FSSAI is located in 5 regions
• Northern Region – With head office at New Delhi
• Eastern Region
• North Eastern Region
• Western region
• Southern Region
FSSAI has been mandated by the FSS Act, 2006 for performing the following functions:
• Lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food.
• Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for certification of food safety management 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.
THE FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT, 2006
An Act to
• Consolidate the laws relating to food and
• To establish the ‘Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’ for
• Laying down science based standards for articles of food and
• To regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
This Act overrides all other food related laws like Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, Food Products Order, Milk and Milk Products Order, Solvent Extracted Oil, De- Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967 etc.
Chapter 1 gives the definitions of relevant terms like ‘adulterant’, ‘consumer’, ‘contaminant’ etc.
Chapter 2 lays down the procedures for and functions of the ‘Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’
Chapter 3 discusses the general rules of food safety i.e. what all should be considered while framing rules by the authority like local practices, international norms etc.
Chapter 4 lays down the norms regarding food additives, packaging, unfair trade practices, contaminants etc.
Chapter 5 relates to regulation for import of food into the country
Chapter 6 fixes the responsibilities of the food manufacturers, packers, wholesalers, distributors, sellers etc.
Chapter 7 gives the authority to enforce the Act to FASSAI. This includes:
• Licensing and registration of food businesses
• Improvement notices
• Prohibition orders
• Powers of food safety officer:
o Take a sample
o Inspect the place of manufacture or storage of food
o Take the necessary action
Chapter 8 notify food laboratories and research institutions accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories for the purposes of carrying out analysis of samples by the Food Analysts under this Act
Chapter 9 fixes the penalties for offences proved to render food unsafe
Chapter 10 relates to Adjudication and Food Safety Appellate Tribunal i.e. who can be appointed to hear the representations from both the parties, conduct inquiry before fixing the offence and impose penalty
Chapter 11 deals with the budget and audit of FASSAI
Chapter 12 deals with the ‘miscellaneous’ topics, like the role of the Central government in this regard etc.
1. GOI, Aug 2006: The Gazette of India-extraordinary; published by the Min of Law and Justice, New Delhi
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