FOOD LAW

The continuous rise of the restaurants and food business through out the country made it necessary to regulate the food industry. In fact, the name “Food law” may sound strange but, in India, the first law relating to food was the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954. Along with it, there was Vegetable oil products (control order) Act, 1947; Food product order;1955; Solvent Extracted oil, de-oiled meal &Edible flour control order 1967; Meat Food Product orders 1973 ; Milk & Milk Products Order 1992 and Edible Oil packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998. Interestingly, all the food legislations were overruled after the introduction of ‘Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006(FSS) which came into force on 2011. The Food laws in India are covered under the areas like packaging & labelling and Food license &Registration.

WHY THE NEW ACT OF 2006

The Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, establishes a new national regulatory body known as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as “FSSAI“) so that it can develop science based standard for food, plus regulate and monitor the manufacture, processing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food so that it can be made safe for human consumption.

PACKAGING & LABELLING

This basically lays down the statutory and regulatory requirements for packaging and labelling of products. Every pre-packed food should contain certain information like:

  1. The particulars of the declaration on the label shall be written either in Hindi or English.
  2. Pre-packed food shall not be described on the label that is fake or misleading regarding its character.
  3. It shall be applied in such a way that it should not be separated from the container.
  4. Contents of the label shall be very clear, prominent and legible to the customers during the time of purchase.
  5. If the container is covered by a wrapper, then that wrapper should be clear & legible to the customers at time of purchase.

Other than the above mentioned requirements, there are some additional ones like:

  1. Name or description of the food
  2. List of ingredients
  3. Nutritional information
  4. Declaration whether the food is veg or non-veg
  5. Declaration as regards any additives
  6. The manufacture’s full name and address
  7. Net quantity
  8. Date of manufacture and expiry
  9. Country of origin
  10. Instructions for use.

Under section 23 it provides that the food products which are not marked or labelled shall not be delivered to the agents for sale or distribution by the manufactures provided that the labels shall not contain any claim, statement or design which is misleading. It is the duty of every food operator that the labelling, presentation of food including the shape, size shall, be arranged in such a way that no customer is misled or face any kind of problem.

FOOD LICENSE & REGISTRATION

The nourishment business executive under the permit are required to be authorised as per the guidelines under FSSAI[1]. It is very important to get registration done to run a food business in India under the Act of 2006, which can be obtained in one of the following categories such as :

Central license:  the license has to be obtained from central government. Food operators like export oriented units, large manufactures, importers, seaport & airport fall under the category.

State license: under this category, small & medium sized manufacturing units, storage, transport are there and the licence is obtained from state government.

Registration: petty food manufactures obtain licence mostly from the state government by submitting some minimal documents register themselves.

The cost and fee for registration in FSSAI are INR 100, license issued by central government are INR 7500, for registration of a 3-star hotel & above INR 5000, for food services in school canteens/office, banquet and dabba walla INR 2000.

According to a notification in 2013, it stated that the FSSAI logo and license number shall be displayed on the label of food package in the background in contrasting colour.

PENALTIES

The Food laws also impose some penalties who do not follow the rules & regulation like declaration on packaging, making inferior quality product, carrying on business without license or not renewing the license on time, selling or distributing adulterated food, sale of unauthorised or banned food products. The penalty is INR 10 lakhs if the adulterated food is injurious to health and INR 2 lakhs if not injurious to health.

CONCLUSION

The existing process of product approval for the food articles governed under Section 22 of the FSS Act has been discontinued as updated on August 26, 2015 by FSSAI in response to the ruling by Honorable Supreme Court of India[2]. Food business operators are certainly anticipating some positive changes in food regulations, which could ease product approval process and food operations.


[1] S.S. Rana & Co, Advocates-Food laws in India & FSSAI, Food Laws in India & FSSAI : An Overview – S.S Rana & Co (ssrana.in), visited on 14-07-2021 at 18:04hrs.

[2] Saurabh Arora-Food Regulations—What is the Current Scenario in India?, Food Regulations—What is the Current Scenario in India? – Food Quality & Safety (foodqualityandsafety.com), visited on 14-07-2021 at 19:27hrs.

Aishwarya Says:

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