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The Food Safety And Standards (Amendment) Bill 2020: A milestone In The History Of Indian Food Safety.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. There are a lot of challenges in the present Act. The food sector in India is largely unorganized. Presently, there is lack of sufficient food testing laboratories in the country for the authority to scrutinize the food manufacturing and processing industries and it is difficult to ensure quality, safety, and hygiene in the food industry. Even there is a shortage of licensing officers, and so it requires structural reform. Presently, the FSSAI has only 377 regulations. However, some countries around the globe have more than 10,000 foods and detailed standards. The list is not reviewed regularly. With the global coronavirus crisis right around the corner, India needs to gear up nutrition, health, and safety.
To revamp the functioning and jurisdiction of FSSAI, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on September 23, 2020, has framed a Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill introduces 70 amendments in the present FSSAI act, 2006. It intends to revamp the functioning and jurisdiction of the FSSAI.
Some of the amendments are:
- More powers to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, through introduction of section 92 A
- The jurisdiction of FSSAI extended to animal feed industry.
- The Food Authority can prescribe a mechanism for handling food safety incidents.
- Many amendments have been made in the penalties and punishments for contravention of the Act, Rules and Regulations. Some new sections and subsections under penalties and offences have been added.
- The FSSAI will specify standards for food contact material i.e., food packaging material. The food packaging material is mentioned as “food contact material” in the bill.
- New definitions for Proprietary and Novel food have been included in the Act.
- The sub sections of Section 34 of the Act (Emergency prohibition notices and orders) will be substituted with words ‘lf the designated officer is satisfied that the health risk condition exists arising out of emergent circumstances or due to habitual default by the food business, he may, after following the procedures as the Food Authority may specify by regulations, recommend to the Commissioner of Food Safety, for imposing the ban or closure of the food business. Purchaser shall obtain a receipt from FBO at the time of purchase, in order to have the food analysed.
- The Food Authority will set up the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Fund to further the objectives of the Act.
- ln the event food industry association, consumer association, or any individual needs to entrust a food testing for the purpose of data generation or to create information for general public on food safety it shall carryout the same in the food testing laboratories that are recognized by Food Authority. The information so collected shall be shared with Food Authority before releasing the same to public.
- The draft is open for comments and suggestions of all the stake holders within 30 days from the release of the Public Notice.
- COMMENTS/SUGGESTION REGARDING FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS (AMENDMENT) BILL 2020.Available at: HTTPS://MAIN.MOHFW.GOV.IN/NEWSHIGHLIGHTS-16 . Accessed on 2 nd November, 2020
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