The earliest law that was related to food is the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 with an aim to promote food security in India. This law along with six other legislations formulated and maintained the food whole food industry in the nation. The other six laws were-
- The Fruit Product Order of 1955,
- The Meat Food Products Order of 1973,
- The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order of 1947, The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order of 1998,
- The Solvent Extracted Oil, De-oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order of 1967 and
- The Milk and Milk Products Order of 1992.
However, due to the transformation in the food industry, a new law came in force. The Food Safety and Standards Act (FASSI) was introduced in 2006. It overruled all the older laws related to the food industry. This Act consolidated many rules and laws related to food security.
The objective of Food Laws
The main objective of formulating Food Laws in India was to ensure proper hygiene and gain proper market access.
FSSAI was formulated for the purpose of laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import. It is also framed to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Functions of FASSI
- Laying down proper rules and regulations to check the standard of food articles and laying down steps to enforce these rules.
- Formulating guidelines and mechanisms for accreditation of certification for food management and system.
- Laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for testing the standard of food items.
- Providing proper support to Central and State Government in the framing of policies related to food safety.
- Provide training sessions to those people who want to work in the area of the food industry.
- Maintain proper sanitary and phytosanitary standards for the development of food standards.
- Promote general awareness about food laws and food safety standards.
- Create a proper and active connecting network between small local bodies and villages to inform them about safety measures.
Rules for Licensing and Registration policies of Food Businesses in India
Generally, two types of licenses are provided for a food business in India-
- Central Licence
- State Licence
The central license is issued by the Central Government and the State license is issued by the State Government respectively.
The central license is issued on the basis of the general turnover and the manufacturing capacity of the Industry. The food business that works within a State needs a State license which is also issued on the basis of turnover and manufacturing capacity of the industry.
Those industries which operate or work in more than one State need an additional Central license for their registered office. They are also required to issue a license for other places in which they function. Also, transporters require just a single license for all vehicles and the individual transport that they run.
Import of Food items in India
There are certain FASSI compliance guidelines that need to be followed for the import of food items in India.
FASSI regulations need to be complied with for importing food items from any foreign country. Stringent laws related to packing should also comply with accordance to Food Safety and Standards (Packing and Labeling) Regulation, 2011.
For example, the chocolates that are to be imported should be prepared from milk as per Food Safety and Standards (Packing and Labeling) Regulation, 2011. The labels on these products should precisely mention the artificial flavors used. Whereby, if such guidelines are not strictly followed then chocolates would not be permitted to enter the Indian market.
In case of import of Alcoholic beverages, the FASSI guidelines specify that the labels on such products specify clearly all the ingredients. Also, the weight and volume of the beverage should also be clearly written.
Penalties for Non-Compliance of FASSI Regulations
A penalty is imposed on the companies that do not comply with the FASSI Regulations while dealing with food items. Therefore, the penalties are imposed for-
- Carrying out business without the license issued by FASSI.
- Selling food items that are inferior in quality of what has been promised.
- Sub-Standard food items.
- Non- Branded food items.
- The extraneous item contained in food.
- Unhygienic or bad sanitation of food items.
- Unsafe food.
- Deceptive food item
Food is one of the basic human need commodity therefore minimal level of standard as prescribed should be followed according to the laws. The laws on food adulteration have been evolving throughout the years, therefore proper vigil should be exercised. The food officers should also take the necessary steps in order to ensure the proper functioning of these laws.