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Food Safety Bill
A number of laws and regulations have been formulated to ensure the safety and suitability of food for the consumers. In most cases they also control food quality and its composition standards. They regulate manufacturing, processing, distribution, import and export of food. Mentioned below are the laws that govern the wholesomeness of food for human consumption.
  • Food safety and Standards act, 2006
    This Act aims to establish a single route of command for all the food safety and standards related issues. Surging through all the multi levels and departments it intends to create a single reference point. The act forms a regulatory body – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to develop food standards and enforce diverse provisions, rules and regulations of the act.

    Functions of FSSAI
    • It would lay down the guidelines for the accreditation of the bodies that are engaged in the certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
    • It would lay down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
    • It would provide scientific advice and support to the central and state governments in framing rules for food safety and nutrition.
    • It would collect and compare data on food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risks, contaminants in food and its products, residues of various, recognition of emerging risks and introduction of alert systems. To establish a network that would provide information to all the people in the society regarding food safety and the related issues.
    • To provide training programs to the people who are or plan to get involved in the food business. To contribute in the development of international technical standards for food and sanitation.
  • Food safety and standard act, 2006
    It repeals 8 other central laws namely:

    The prevention of food adulteration act, 1954:
    Prevention of food adulteration rules, 1955 was incorporated in 1955 as an extension to the act. It covers food standards, general procedures for sampling, analysis of food, powers of authorized officers, nature of penalties andfood parameters including additives, preservative, coloring, packing & labeling, prohibition & regulations of sales etc.

    The Fruit Products Order, 1955
    Fruit Products Order -1955 was declared under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act – 1955. Its objective is to manufacture fruit & vegetable products, maintain sanitary and hygienic conditions in the premises and to ensure that the quality standards are laid down in the Order. All manufacturers of fruit and vegetable products including some non fruit products like non fruit vinegar, syrup and sweetened aerated water are supposed to obtain a license under this Order. There are a few minimum requirements laid down in the Fruit Product Order for hygienic production and quality standards and that are as follows:

    Location and surroundings of the factory, Sanitary and hygienic conditions of premises, Personnel hygiene, Portability of water, Machinery & Equipment with installed capacity, Quality control facility & Technical staff, Product Standards, Limits for preservatives & other additives.

    The Meat Food Products Order, 1973
    Processing of meat products are licensed under the meat food products order. It encompasses the regulation of the production and sale of meat food products through licensing of manufacturers, enforcement of sanitary and hygienic conditions laid down for production of wholesome meat food products and implementation of strict quality control at all stages of production of meat food products, fish products including chilled poultry etc. Under MFPO, all manufacturers of meat food products engaged in manufacturing, packing, repacking, relabeling meat food products meant for sale are licensed except those who manufacture meat products for consumption on the spot like in restaurants, hotels etc.

    The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
    Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947 along with Vegetable Oil Products (Standards of Quality) Order, 1975 has been replaced by a single Order called “Vegetable Oil Products (Regulation) Order, 1998. This was done for proper regulation of manufacture, distribution and sale of Vegetable Oil Products. This order has lead to a huge reduction in the overlapping of jurisdiction of multiple authorities and agencies.

    The Directorate of Vanaspati, Vegetable Oils and Fats holds the responsibility for implementation of the standards of quality of the vegetable oil product mainly at the manufacturing stage. The provision for proposal of BIS Certification has been removed. This order has laid down the standards of quality and there has been some easing in vegetable oil product prices.

    The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
    This order was promulgated under the Essential commodities act, 1955 in order to make the packing of edible oils at predetermined prices, sold in retail, mandatory with an exception of being exempted by the concerned state government. Its objective was to ensure the availability of safe and quality edible oils. Salient features of this order are as follows:
    • All the packers have to compulsorily get registered with the registering authority as well as have their own analytical facilities for the samples of edible oils to be tested to the government’s satisfaction.

    • Only those oils will be allowed to be packed which conform to the standards of quality specified in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules made thereunder.
    • Each container or pack will have to show the relevant particulars in order to avoid the consumer being misled and to state the clear identity of the packer.
    • The packing of Edible oils shall conform to the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules made thereunder.
    • The power to relax the requirements of the packaging order to meet special circumstances will be under the control of the State Governments.
    The Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
    This Order has been formulated to ensure that the solvent extracted oils do not reach the consumers for consumption before they are refined and conform to the quality standards specified in the Order for the same. In order to eliminate the contamination of oil from the solvent used, Standards for the solvent (hexane), used for extraction of oil from the oil-bearing materials, have also been specified. The features of this order are as follows:
    • It controls the manufacture, quality and movement of solvent extracted oils, de-oiled meal and edible flour.
    • It offers consumer protection through quality assurance of solvent extracted oils, de-oiled meal and edible flour.
    • It decimates the possibility of diversion of the oils for unintended uses.
    • It prohibits by, offers to buy, use or stock for use any solvent that does not comply with the quality standards for extraction of vegetable oils and states the particulars that need to be declared on the label attached to the container.
    The milk and milk products order, 1992
    The milk and milk products order, 1992 was promulgated under the section 3 of the Essential commodities act, 1955 by the department of AH, dairying and fisheries because of the de-licensing of Dairy Sector in 1991 under Industrial Development & Regulation Act. The main objective of the order is to maintain and increase the supply of liquid milk of required quality and to regulate the production, processing and distribution of milk and milk products. According to this order it is mandatory for a person or a dairy plant handling more than 10,000 liters per day of milk or 500 MT of milk solids per annum, to get registered with the Central government appointed Registering Authority.

    The Essential commodities Act, 1955
    Its objective is to ensure that the essential commodities are available to the consumers and to protect them from being exploited by corrupted traders. It regulates and controls the production, distribution and pricing of commodities which are considered essential for maintaining or increasing supplies. It also ensures their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices.

    At present the number of essential commodities has been brought down to 7. After an agreement with the state governments, the Central Government has the power to add, remove and modify any essential commodity in the public interest. The addition/modification of any essential commodity will depend on the scarcity or non-availability of the commodity during war, natural calamities, disruption or threat of disruption of supply of essential commodities, requiring Central Government’s intervention under the Act.

  • Livestock importation Act, 1898:
    This Act has established procedures and regulates the import of livestock which are prone to be affected by infectious or contagious disorders. It makes a sanitary import permit mandatory from the department of Animal Husbandry, dairying and fisheries at the ministry of agriculture, during the import of meat products, eggs and egg powder and milk products. An import risk analysis is performed considering the disease scenario in the exporting country in comparison to the disease situation in India.

  • Export (quality control and inspection) Act, 1963
    All the operations of this Act fall under the responsibility of the Export Inspection Council. Its salient features are as follows:
    • A number of exportable commodities have been notified for compulsory pre-shipment inspection.
    • The quality control and inspection of export products is administered through fifty offices located around major production centers and ports of shipment.
    • Organizations may be considered as agencies for inspection and /or quality control.
    • Agriculture, food products, fruit products, fish and fishery products have been exempted by the government from pre-shipment inspections. There is one condition to the above clause, that the exporter should have a firm letter from the overseas buyer mentioning that the overseas buyer does not require pre-shipment inspection from official Indian inspection agencies.
These Laws and regulations ensure the development of a wholesome food processing sector. They have been laid down for standardization of all the food procedures resulting in a conducive environment sustaining healthy growth.