Food is our basic necessity for sustenance of life. Pure, fresh and healthy meals are most essential for our bodies. However, when quality of food is lowered either by addition of inferior quality material or by extraction of valuable ingredient is known as food adulteration. In India, adulteration has become an increasing problem in the food industry and for consumers. Drastic measures in the form of a comprehensive legislation have become essential. The legislation which first worked with food safety in India was the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. It regulated the laws of the food industry along with six other laws –
- 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
- The Milk and Milk Products Order of 1992.
However due to the changing needs of the food industry, The Food Safety and Standards Act was introduced in 2006. This law overrides and repealed all prior laws.
The act was established to bring uniformity and a single reference point for all matters relating food safety and standards. It helped move from a multi-departmental and multi-level control to a single line of command. This act is enforced by two statutory authorities – Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) and State Food Safety Authority (SFSA). It should also be noted that this was possible because “Adulteration of foodstuff and other goods” was included in the concurrent list in the constitution of India.
Key Features of the Food Safety and Standards Act:
1) Packaging and Labelling
An analysis of the packaging and labelling regulations shows that there are various kinds of products – pre-packaged products, proprietary products and specific products as mentioned in the regulation. The following are the general requirements:
- The declaration required under the regulation on the package should be either in Hindi or English.
- Pre-packaged food on the label shall not be presented or described on any label or in any manner that is misleading, false or deceptive. This is to stop erroneous impression regarding it character.
- Label should be applied in a manner which will prevent separation from the container.
- Contents on the label shall be prominent, clear, indelible and readily legible by consumers under normal circumstances of purchase and use.
- If the container is covered by a wrapper, the necessary information or the label on the container should not be obscured by the wrapper.
2) Signage and Customer Notice
While the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act does not specifically provide for regulatory requirements for signage and customer notice, it has provisions for with regard to advertisement of products by food business operators.
Section 24 provides that, no person shall engage himself in any unfair trade practice for the purpose of sale, supply, use and consumption of articles of consumption or adopt any deceptive practice of making any statement whether orally or in writing which:
- Falsely represent that food is of a quality, quantity, standard or grade consumption
- Make false or deceptive representation of the usefulness or need for the product
- Gives public any guarantee of the efficacy that is not based on an adequate or scientific justification.
3) Licensing Registration and Health and Sanitary Permits
Under the license and registration regulation, the food business operators in the country are required to be compulsorily registered or licensed as per the regulations under Food Safety and Standards Act. So no person shall commence any food business unless a valid license is possessed by the food business operator. The conditions with regard to sanity, safety and hygienic requirements have to be met at all times. These regulations recognise and help ensure that the food business operators maintain sanitary and hygienic conditions required in each food category.
The Food Safety and Standards Act lays emphasis on all laws related to food. This includes manufacturing, storage, registration, sale and import. It helps make the availability of food safe and wholesome for human consumption.
Comparative Product Testing of Food Products done by Consumer VOICE
Consumer VOICE regularly tests food products to check the authenticity of purity claims of various brands. Tests are done at NABL accredited labs as per the specifications and parameters defined by FSS Regulations and India Standards. Comparative Product Testing reports give you the actual values of energy, protein, calcium, iodine, vitamins, fatty acids, moisture and much more. Presence of insoluble impurities, foreign matter and adulteration is also reported. You will also find the safer limits of each parameter. Basis the tests, Consumer VOICE experts suggest the Best brands along with Value for Money. For detailed Comparative Product Testing methodology, click here.
Test Reports of:
- Milk and Milk Products: Toned Milk | Fresh Paneer | Curd | Dairy Whitener
- Cooking Oil: Ground Nut Oil | Sunflower Oil | Rice Bran Oil | Loose Edible Oil
- Ghee: Desi Ghee | Cow Ghee
- Grains: Basmati Rice | Whole Wheat Flour
- Packaged Water: 20 Lt. Can| 1 Lt. Bottle
- Bread | Rusk | Muesli
- Sugar | Glucose Powder
- Black Tea
You might like to read: