As agriculture is the main occupation in India, the food industry has become the largest industry in India. Since Independence, India’s food grain production has registered an over a five-fold increase, with a seen record at 292 million tonnes in 2019-2020. The country has largely achieved self-sufficiency as over the past 70 years it has transformed itself from a ‘ship-to-mouth’ status to an exporter.
The implementation of the Green Revolution in the 1960s gave the country’s food grain production a significant boost, which then relied largely on imports to feed the market. The increase in irrigation cover, combined with the adoption of improved and hybrid seeds, resulted largely in higher food grain growth.
The food industry consists of production, processing and distribution. These activities are very crucial as it forms the food chain. All these actives together call the need for food laws to be in place in India.
In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the core body which sets standards for the food to ensure and maintain superior quality of food. The food industry in India is also governed by e various laws and regulations. which sets a touchstone for proper sanitation, licensing and other necessary permits that are required to be followed by the entities in the business of food.
FSSAI regulates all other food related laws. It specifically cancelled eight laws which were in operation prior to the enforcement of FSSAI:
The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
The Solvent Pull out Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
The Meat Food Products Order, 1973
The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (in relation to food)
The Fruit Products Order, 1955
The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
FSSAI also oversees advertisements of food products by Food Operating Businesses, according to section 24 of FSSAI, no advertisement should be misleading, no food operating business should engage in unfair trade practices for the purpose of promoting sales.
FSSAI provides regulations about Labelling and Packaging as well, A complete reading of the Packaging and Labeling Regulations, show that there are different kinds of products: Pre-packaged, Proprietary and other definite products as mentioned in the regulations.
FSSAI also provides regulations relating, to licensing and registration which are applicable to food products and food industry in India.
If any Food Operating Business or person dealing with food products does not have the necessary FSSAI license and registration, they are liable to pay a penalty of Rupees 2 lakhs and under section 63 of the FSSAI if any FBO or persons sells, manufactures, imports or stores any food item shall be punishable with six months’ imprisonment and with a fine of 5 lakh Rupees.
There is still room for improvement in FSSAI, as it needs to bring manufactures under the lens to maximize food security. It needs to maintain an accurate database of FBOs and conduct regular surveys for better enforcement of laws. It also needs to increase compensation amounts in cases of death due to food products as well as increase the number of food testing laboratories.
FBOs need not only comply to FSSAI law as it is a Central Act, but also local food laws according to whichever jurisdiction the FBO operates.
Food safety is needs to be prioritized by every country. As food is consumed by all it is very important that food laws and food safety polices should be strictly implemented and enforced. Food laws need to be updated with changing times in lieu of technological advancements.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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