The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on June 26, 2018 recommended stringent punishment for those adulterating food products following the Supreme Court order. Now, those adulterating food products could face life imprisonment and penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh.
The recommendations are the part of amendments proposed by the FSSAI to amend the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Key amendments to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
• The regulator has proposed a total of 100 amendments to the Act and has sought public comments by July 2, 2018.
• The draft proposal recommends insertion of Section 59 in the Act that states the punishment for the food adulterers. It calls for punishment of 7 years, which could be extended up to life imprisonment besides a fine of Rs 10 lakh, if individuals or businesses intentionally add adulterants to food products.
• It suggested creation of a 'Food Safety and Nutrition Fund' to support promotional and outreach activities among food businesses and consumers.
• It proposed setting up of the state food safety authorities to enforce the law in letter and spirit.
• It proposed increase in the punishment for obstructing, impersonating, intimidating and threatening and assaulting a food safety officer. It recommended imprisonment of not less than 6 months and up to two years, besides penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh. At present, the imprisonment in such cases is up to 3 months and fine is up to Rs 1 lakh.
• It proposed that a person convicted under this law will have to pay fees and other expenses incidental to the analysis of any food or food contact article and any other reasonable expenses incurred by the prosecution.
• The other amendments include regulation of exported food products under the FSS Act. Presently, it covers only sale of food items in domestic market and also imported ones.
The amendments come in the light of the directions of the Supreme Court and have been proposed in line with provision of Singapore's Sale of Food Act.
• The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a nodal agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through regulation and supervision of food safety.
• It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
• It lays down science-based standards for articles of food and regulates their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food to 130 crore citizens.
• The authority is also responsible for creating an information network across the country so that the public and consumers receive rapid, reliable and accurate information about food safety and hygiene.