FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), its features, functions and the persons associated with food safety are discussed here. You may come to know the roles and responsibilities of the persons who are all related with FSSAI.
Issues with the existing regulatory regime:
- There are eight different ministries and nine different laws govern the food sector.
- The laws which are framed by different departments/ministries with different perspectives and the enforcement approach.
- The laws been overlapped with different quality standards and the labelling requirements.
In the proposed system:
- Harmonizing with the international law.
- Based on the science and the risk analysis, the regulatory requirements will be framed.
- Multiple regulations have been removed.
- There is no any compromise in the consumer safety and bringing innovation in foods.
The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 is to consolidate the laws which relate to the food and establish the food safety and standards authority of India for laying down science based standards for the articles of food. It is used to regulate the manufacture, sales and import, storage, distribution to ensure the wholesome and the safest food for human consumption and the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Features of FSSAI:
- To ensure that the food meets the customers’ expectation in terms of substances, quality and nature.
- Shifting from the regulatory regimes to self-compliance through food safety management system.
- Science based standards.
- Proprietary food, Genetically Modified (GM) foods, dietary supplements, Nutraceuticals, etc. brought into the ambit of the new act.
- Providing legal powers and specify the offences if any, in relation to the public health and consumer interests.
- The act covers throughout the food distribution chain from primary production to distribution to retail and catering.
- The FSSSAI act gives the government powers to make the regulations on the matters of food safety.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is the principal government authority which is responsible for preparing the specific regulations under this act.
Functions of Authority:
- Regulating, monitoring the manufacture, processing, distribution, sale and import of food in order to ensure the safety and wholesomeness.
- Standards and guidelines of the food article have been specified.
- Limits for contaminants, veterinary drugs, food additives, heavy metals, irradiation of food, mycotoxin and processing aids.
- Guidelines and the mechanisms for the accreditation of certification bodies have been engaged in FSMS certification.
- Food labelling standards to be specified which includes the nutrition, special dietary uses and the food category system and claims on health.
- Technical advice and scientific support will be given to central and state governments.
- To check the quality control of the imported food.
Roles and responsibilities of the food safety commissioner:
- Carry out the inspection or survey of the food processing units in the state in order to find out the compliance of the prescribed standards.
- Conducting the training programs for the personnel who is involved in the food safety.
- Ensure the uniform and efficient implementation of the standards and other requirements of the food safety.
- Sanction prosecution for offences punishable with imprisonment under this act.
Roles and responsibilities of the designated officer:
- Cancel or issue the license of food business operator.
- Report and samples of articles of food are receiving from the food safety officer and analyse that.
- Make the recommendations to the commissioner of food safety for sanction in order to launch prosecutions.
- A record of all inspections which are made by the food safety officer need to be maintained.
- Complaints have been investigated with respect to the contravention of the provision of the act or against Food Safety Officer (FSO).
Roles and responsibilities of the food safety officer:
- Taking the sample of foods which is intended for sale.
- The article of food can be seized if it appears to be in contravention of this act.
- He can enter and inspect any place where the food is manufactured, or stored for sale.
- If any adulterant found in possession of a manufacturer or distributor, that can be seized.
- If the business operator been harassed, then the person would be penalised.
Enforcement of the provision of the act:
- Licensing and registration conditions have been laid down in article 31 which are mandatory for any food business.
- Any person who is aspiring to commence or carry a food business shall make an application to the designated officer along with the fees in order to grant a license.
- In case if a license is not issued within the period of two months from the date of making the application or his application has not rejected, the applicant may start his food business after the expiry of the said period.
- For carrying any food business, the provision of obtaining a license is not applicable for hawker, retailer, itinerant vendor or any temporary stall holder or small scale or any tiny business operator. But they can have the registration to the designated officer.
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