Overview of Food and Food Safety Laws in India by Harshit Kiran | Know Your Law

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What are food laws?

Food law is the collection of laws and regulations that govern food production, distribution and consumption. It aims to protect consumers and provide for the efficient growth and use of food. Food attorneys focus their careers on helping clients comply with food laws and regulations. They even work on behalf of government agencies making or enforcing food laws and policies. Food laws are related to the production, manufacturing and selling of a food product. It begins from the very initial stage, i.e. the standards of production and continues till the packaging or labeling of a product. Food laws are to ensure the safety and health of an individual consuming any product.

Topics covered under Food Laws

Food laws govern pesticide use, tariffs on agricultural imports and restaurant cleanliness. It also covers other topics that some consumers may not have considered. Food laws regulate what supplement producers can claim about the effectiveness of their products. Food laws can even over constitutional law topics like whether the federal government can lawfully regulate local farm production.

Law governing food regulation in India

Food safety and standard act of 2006 is governing the laws related to food products in India in the present time, which was passed by the Parliament in 2006 and regulated by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Previous laws which governed food laws in India

Before the commencement of the act of 2006, there were some acts which used to govern food products and they are:
·         Prevention of food adulteration act, 1954
·         Food products order, 1955
·         Meat food products order, 1973
·         Vegetable and oil (control) product order, 1947
·         Edible oil packaging (regulation) order, 1988
·         Milk and milk product order, 1992

The main authority under food safety and standard act, 2006

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority of India) is the apex authority set up by Food Standards and Safety Act, 2006 to regulate laws governing food in India.

Composition of Food Safety and Standard Authority of India

It consists of a chairperson and 22 other members representing the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, consumer affairs, food processing, health, legislative affairs, small scale industries, two representatives from food industry, two representatives from consumer organization, three eminent food scientists, five members to represent state and union territories, two person to represent farmer organization and one person to represent retailer organization.

Functions of Food Safety and Standard Authority of India

  • Framing of regulations to lay down standard for regulation of different food commodities.
  • Granting of certificates to institutions which are party of the food management system.
  • Procedures & Guidelines for accredition of laboratories for testing of products.
  • To provide help to state and central government in order to make policy regarding food safety and nutrition for the country.
  • Provide training program to people involved or tend to get involved in the food business.
  • Promote general awareness for food safety and food standards.

Salient features of Food Safety & Standard Act, 2006

  • Packaging & Labelling- The act has encompassed vast detailed sections regarding the regulations and prohibitions of packing and labelling a product.
  • Signage and Customer Notice- No person shall engage himself in any unfair trade practice for the purpose of sale, supply, use or consumption of articles to adopt any practice of making any statement which falsely represents the quality, quantity or standard of the food or makes false or deceptive representation or gives any guarantee which is not justified by them.
  • Licensing registration and health and sanitary permits- It helps to ensure that all food operators are registered and are up to the standard of the act and so ensures safe product for consumption by the consumer.

The above article has been sourced from FAQ on food laws in India at https://www.ssrana.in/Intellectual%20Property/Food%20Law/FAQ-Food-Law-in-India.aspx

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