GoI to revamp Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

Published: October 2, 2020

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has framed a Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill introduces 70 amendments in the FSSAI act, 2006. It intends to revamp the functioning and jurisdiction of the FSSAI.

Key Features

  • The amendment will give more powers to FSSAI.
  • The jurisdiction of FSSAI is to be extended towards animal feed as well
  • It will simplify the processes and enhance penalties imposed for violations. This will include manufacture and sale of unsafe food, businesses that are carried out without licenses, adulteration of food that leads to death. The punishment of sale of unsafe food under the new amendment has been extended till life imprisonment.
  • The amendment will specify standards for food packaging material. The food packaging material has been mentioned as “food contact material” in the bill.
  • A Chief Executive Officer is to be appointed at FSSAI. Earlier, the chairperson and the members were selected based on the recommendations made by the Selection Committee. However, now there would be no role of selection committee.
  • The process of serving notices to a food business operator has been simplified. The notice shall be issued to those running unsafe restaurants.

Challenges in the current FSSAI act, 2006

The FSSAI was established under FSSAI, 2006. The shortcomings and challenges with the act are as follows

  • The hawkers, retailers and petty manufacturers are exempted from the ambit of FSSAI. They contribute largely to unorganized food sector
  • There are no enough food testing laboratories in the country for the authority to scrutinize the food processing industries.
  • The body has failed to ensure quality, safety and hygiene in the food industry.
  • There are shortages in enforcement and licensing officers. This severely affects food safety measures and thus it requires a structural reform. This is to be achieved through the current amendment.
  • The FSSAI has only 377 regulations mentioned. On the other hand, foreign countries have more than 10,000 foods and detailed standards. The list is not reviewed regularly.

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