Director, Regulatory & External Affairs, Kellogg India Pvt Ltd
FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT (FSS ACT) AND REGULATIONS THEREIN
The Act enacted in 2006 mandates laying down science based standards for food and aims at regulating the whole food chain including manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
The Act is applicable to all products and substances intended for human consumption, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, manufactured in India or imported from other countries, in units big or small, operating in organized or unorganized sector public or private
All types of foods including organic foods, special purpose foods like food supplements etc., infant foods, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink as also water used during manufacture or preparation of food falls under the purview of this Act
Food safety is a scientific discipline which describes handling, preparation, storage, distribution and selling of food in ways that not only prevent the food from being infested or contaminated by contaminants and pathogens collectively known as “hazards” but also prevent the food from any harmful effects of specific ingredients or chemicals used in the food. Safety is also dependent on consumer’s knowledge about ingredients used in a product, their nutritional value, shelf life or any requirement based on specific dietary habit or physiological status of the consumer.
To take care of all these aspects of safety and to ensure that all food products in the market are safe and provide all necessary information to the consumer, following 6 regulations have been introduced under the Act, compliance to which are binding on every food business operator. The responsibility is on the FBOs to ensure that the articles of food handled by them at all stages of production, processing, import, distribution and sale satisfy the requirements.
जिन बुनियादी विनियमों का पालन करना होता है वे इस प्रकार हैं:
- FSS (Licensing And Registration of Food Businesses), Regulations 2011 The first step towards compliance is to get all food businesses licensed or registered and bring them under enforcement. Each and every food business operator involved in manufacturing, storing, distributing, importing, selling or transporting food whether for profit or not, has to take a registration or license. This is a two tier system as explained below, handled by State & Central Licensing Authorities. The processes and systems of licensing is uniform across country with common application forms and procedures.
- Large businesses as defined under Schedule 1 of this regulation, are granted license by the Central Licensing Authority and all others including small and medium enterprises by the designated officer appointed by the State licensing Authority for the respective district.
- Registration applicable for very small and petty manufacturers as defined in the law are granted by State Registering Authority or local bodies as notified.
- खाद्य वस्तुओं, खाद्य घटकों या एडिटिव्स के आयातकों, चाहे वे मध्यम या लघु स्तर पर ही क्यों न कार्य करते हों, को केंद्रीय लाइसेंसदायी प्राधिकरण से लाइसेंस लेना होगा.
- License can be applied for minimum period of 1 year and maximum of 5 years and every licensee shall on or before 31st May, submit return in respect of each class of food products handled by him during the previous financial year.
- For filing application and subsequent granting of license/registration, specific conditions and documentation requirements have been prescribed. Before granting license, inspectors (Food Safety officers under this law) are required to mandatorily inspect each premise for adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices i.e. maintenance of proper hygienic conditions in and around factory premises.
- Detailed requirements have been prescribed with regard to location of factories, their layout, equipment used, storage conditions, pest control measures adopted, personal hygiene of the food handlers including their personal health and hygiene. The quality of water used in production and washing of equipment/utensils, drainage and waste disposal systems are also covered under the law and are subjected to inspection.
- This Act encourages and incentivises FBOs to adopt self-compliance by implementing food safety management systems certified by empanelled, accredited, third party auditors.
- Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011
- This Regulation lays down standards of most commonly used food products like food grains, milk, cheese, butter, juice, packaged water, sugar, salt, varieties of spices, chocolates, confectionery etc. specifying their component ingredients and quality standards like Ash content, moisture content, extraneous matter etc.
- Any other food product, for which standards are not specified, can contain only those ingredients which are standardized or allowed to be used in standardized foods.
- The usage of food additives in each type of food categories is also regulated by this regulation specifying the limits at which each can be used.
- Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011 This regulation mandates that food products as far as possible should be free from all contaminants both microbiological and chemicals. However, since it is not always possible to maintain contaminants at zero level, this regulation lays down maximum permissible limits of such contaminants product category wise.
- Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition And Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 This Regulation lays down some prohibitions and restrictions while manufacturing food.
- Food Safety and Standards (Laboratory and Sample Analysis) Regulations, 2011 This regulation specifies manner of collecting samples by food inspectors and getting them analyzed for enforcement and ensuring compliance. Samples shall be sent to public analyst labs and action would be taken as per laid down norms in case of non-compliance.
- Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 Since a consumer decides on a packaged product on the basis of certain parameters like the product composition/ingredients, nutritional facts, best before date, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, additives used like preservatives, colours etc., labelling has emerged as one of the major compliance requirement in achieving food safety.