The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

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The Food Safety and Standards Act have been acted on 23.08.2006. This Act has been established with the intension to strengthen the laws related to foods. It also helps to lay down the standards and enforcement for various sectors of food by establishing Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The FSSAI is established to protect and promote public health through regulation and administration of food safety. This Act integrates eight Acts namely Prevention of Adulteration Act, 1954, Fruit Products Order, 1955, Meat Food Products Order, 1973, etc.

This Act has been incorporated for providing safety standards with varied quality inorder to prevent innovations in food substances. This Act assists in effective fixation of standards for good laboratories, infrastructure, manpower and other resource facilities conducive in nature. This Act also helps us to provide good information propagation to consumer level. These science based standards framed by FSSAI helps to ensure that every food items meets the requirement to the consumers in terms of nature and quality food products.   This Act assists to follow easy compliance rather than strict regime. Several varieties of food products including proprietary foods, GM foods, dietary supplements, etc were subjected under this Act.

The Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette constitutes this FSSAI to excise the powers and functions conferred by this Act. This has been constituted with a Non-executive Chairman appointed by the Central Government of India. This Chairman is been selected within the person having efficient knowledge in food science and administration. He must be in association to this field either holding or hold a position not less than a Secretary Ranking in Government of India. This body consists of twenty two other members having eminent knowledge in this field or in related to this field. In these members, seven members shall be the women holding or hold a rank not less than a Joint Secretary in Indian Government. These members were selected by a selection committee headed by Cabinet Secretary as Chairperson and other four members with expert knowledge of food related field.

The Members of the Committee including Chairperson will perform all the necessary functions conferred under this Act. They all get salary and allowance as per the terms mentioned during their appointment by food authority with Central Government approval. Their removal is based on their physical and mental saneness, their criminal activities involved and convicted, if adjudged insolvent, etc.          The Chief executive officer of food authority will perform his administration powers by implementing the work program ensuring its function in pursuance to FSSAI.         They shall present a general report covering its work schedule, accounting statements and the budget for the upcoming year before the food authority. Likewise all the committees and panels under this Act shall perform its duties and function in pursuance to this Act with members and experts as prescribed in this Act.

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The Food Authority shall meet at the head office or any other place as prescribed with the grip of the Chairperson. The meeting shall be specified with regulations. In case of Chairperson’s absence than any other member shall act upon him and perform his duty as per the nomination by the Chairperson himself. In case of any issues in the meetings, then it shall be decided by vote and in case of even votes the Chairperson or any other member acting on his behalf shall be given a second chance for casting vote. No proceedings shall be questioned if it is made in good faith in pursuance to this Act.

Any person having desire to commence a food business must get compulsory license and registration by an application to the designated officer. Certain guidelines provided under this act with regard to Licensing and registration. In case of any irregularities the food authority may cancel or reject the license. It has the power to search, seize, investigate, etc, or such other functions in pursuance to this Act. As every Act consists of penal provisions, this Act also has for separate penal provisions for several offences such as misleading advertisements, seized items, unhygienic processing, adulterations, etc. It also includes compensation for injured or consumer’s death.

Adjudicating Authority shall not be ranked below Addl. District Magistrate appointed by State Government. He shall give reasonable opportunity during enquiry and the proceedings is of Court nature. Any aggrieved can Appeal within 45 days from Order to High Court, in case of expiry if the Court satisfied can entertain the Appeal. The FSSAI shall present all audited statements of accounts, reports before the Central Government.

This Act contains repeal and saving provisions as specified in Second Schedule. This Government is performing its duties as and when necessary through amending, enacting Acts and rules. Likewise, the Government enacted Food Safety and Standards Act, 2011 and drafted a bill in 2014 to amend this Act to provide all-round safety.

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by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu