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SECTOR: Food Safety

Overview

Food is an essential commodity for life and the subject of food safety is in the concurrent list of the constitution. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) established in 2008 is the regulating body to control different activities related to manufacturing of food and its products. It also creates an information network across the country for the consumers to receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern. FSSAI also aims to promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.

FSSAI and the State Food Safety Authorities work for the enforcement of various provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Objective

To ensure availability of safe & wholesome Food for human consumption.

Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS Act), 2006

Food Safety and Standard Act (FSS), 2006 is a science based consolidated law covering all categories of food. It is the single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards .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 for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The law encompasses analysis of food, Adjudication and Food Safety Appellate Tribunal and Auditiing of Food Buisness Operators (FBO).

Food Safety and Standards Regulations (Section 92 of the FSS Act empowers the Food Authority to make Regulations)

  1. Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses Regulation, 2011
  2. Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011
  3. Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011
  4. Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011
  5. Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulation, 2011
  6. Food Safety and Standards (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, 2011
  7. Food Safety and Standards (Food or Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Foods for Special Dietary Uses, Foods for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Foods and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016
  8. Food Safety and Standards (Food Recall Procedure) Regulation, 2017
  9. Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation, 2017
  10. Food Safety and Standards (Approval for Non-Specified Food and Food Ingredients) Regulations, 2017
  11. Food Safety and Standards (Organic Food) Regulation, 2017
  12. Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages) Regulations, 2018
  13. Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018
  14. Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulations, 2018
  15. Food Safety and Standards ( Recognition and Notification of Laboratories) Regulations, 2018
  16. Food Safety and Standards ( Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018
  17. Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations

Definition of Food

“Food” means any substance which is –

  1. Processed, Partially processed or Unprocessed
  2. Intended for human consumption
  3. Includes infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its manufacture/processing

"Food" does not include-

  1. Any animal feed, live animals unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption
  2. Plants, prior to harvesting
  3. Drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances

Adulterant

“Adulterant” means any material which is or could be employed for making the food unsafe or sub-standard or mis-branded or containing extraneous matter.

Best Before

“Best before” means the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the food shall remain fully marketable and shall retain any specific qualities for which express claims have been made and beyond that date, the food may still be perfectly safe to consume, though its quality may have diminished. However the food shall not be sold if at any stage the product becomes unsafe.

Use By

Food with shelf-life of not more than seven days, the 'date of manufacture' may not be required to be mentioned on the label of packaged food articles, but the 'use by date' shall be mentioned on the label by the manufacturer or packer.

Importance of Different Logos on Packaged Food Products

NCH Centre FSSAI license number along with FSSAI logo is mandatory to be displayed on the label of the food product according to Packaging and Labelling Regulations.
NCH Centre ISI is an abbreviation of Indian Standards Institute, the former name of the Bureau of Indian Standards. It certifies that a product conforms to the Indian Standard (IS) and mentioned as CM/L-xxxxxxx on top of the mark. Packaged drinking water/Mineral water, Milk Powder, Infant food products and Weaning foods are sold under dual mandatory license of ISI and the FSSAI.
NCH Centre AGMARK stands for Agricultural Produce Grading and Marketing. The present AGMARK standards cover quality guidelines for 224 different commodities spanning a variety of pulses, cereals, essential oils, vegetable oils, fruits and vegetables and semi-processed products like vermicelli. With the onset of FSSAI license number, use of AGMARK has replenished. Mandatory AGMARK certification is required only for - Blended Vegetable Oil, Fat Spread, Carbia Callosa and Honey Dew, Kangra Tea, Til Oil (Sesame Oil), Ghee having Reichert value less than that specified in that area where such ghee is sold.
NCH Centre Every package of fortified food shall carry the logo of fortification as specified in Food Fortification Regulations, 2017 on its label. The logo is followed by the tag line “Sampoorna Poshan Swasth Jeevan”.
NCH Centre All packaged food products must carry a declaration on whether the product is completely from vegetarian sources or has some non veg sources also. This is stated on the package in an easily visible manner, distinguishing whether the product is vegetarian or non vegetarian.
NCH Centre JAIVIK BHARAT logo is recognized as a mark of the quality assurance given by the certification bodies recognized by FSSAI. Any packaged food product offered or promoted for sale as organic food is required to carry the JAIVIK BHARAT logo.
NCH Centre NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production) certifies that agricultural practices followed by the farmer are totally organic in nature and are administered by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). It is based on third party certification.
NCH Centre PGS (Participatory Guarantee System for India) is operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. There are two separate logos identified for PGS India Green and PGS India Organic. PGS India Green is for organic products obtained from the agricultural fields which are under the process of organic conversion. This program is based on peer review; a farmer’s group reviews each other for organic practices in agriculture.

Smart tips for buying Packaged Food Products

  1. Check for the presence of FSSAI license number of Manufacturing/Packing Unit
  2. Check for a legible Lot number/Batch number/Code number
  3. Check shelf life of product by observing “Best before”/ “Use by”/ “Recommended last consumption date from the date of Manufacturing/Packing”
  4. Check for the Net content in terms of weight/measure/count
  5. Do not buy damaged/tempered/puffed pack

Smart Tips for buying/ordering Food Online

a. Packaged Food Products

  1. Check for a legible and clear picture of Packaged Food Product having FSSAI license number, Brand name, Name and address of the product manufacturer, Ingredient list, Nutritional facts, Net content, Veg/Non Veg logo, Country of origin in case of imported product.
  2. Batch /Code/Lot number, Best before/ Use by/ Recommended last usage/ Expired by, MRP will not be present as it may vary for the product displayed On line.
  3. Any food article delivered by E commerce FBO shall have 30 percent of shelf life or 45 days before expiry at the time of delivery

b. Packaged Food Products

  1. Check the FSSAI license/registration number of the seller/brand owner/Manufacturer before placing an order for cooked food.
  2. In case of fresh produce the product delivered should be similar to the indicative image provided On line.

Detect Adulteration with Rapid Test (DART)

Detect Adulteration with Rapid Test (DART) booklet is a compilation of common quick tests for detection of food adulterants at household by the citizens themselves so as to induce awareness among the consumers about food safety.DART covers more than 50 tests that can be performed easily at household with the help of water and simple solutions like tincture of iodine for food products like Milk & Milk Products, Oils & Fats, Sugar & Confectionary, Food Grains & its products, Spices & Condiments etc. These tests also include sensory evaluation tests for establishing authentication of food products. DART depicts the differences between pure and adulterated food product through pictorial representations.

Link for Adulteration tests:

https://www.fssai.gov.in/dam/jcr:d07f3bf2-8416-4684-8cc0-95e1efbe35e1/DART_Book_03_05_2018.pdf

Right to Analysis of Purchased Food

  1. Purchaser of any article of food could get it analyzed by the Food Analyst by paying the prescribed fees.
  2. If the report of the Food Analyst shows that the article of food is adulterated / misbranded / contaminated or does not conform to the standards prescribed under the Act or the Regulations, the Purchaser shall be entitled to get a refund of the fees paid by him.
  3. Link for State Food Laboratories:
    https://www.fssai.gov.in/dam/jcr:4c18c32f-7062-4e84-b8fd.../list-of-state-labs.pdf

Nature of Grievances

a.Common Grievances (Horizontal Grievances)

  1. Foreign matter/Dust/Insect/Fungus
  2. Health problems - vomiting, headache
  3. Adulteration
  4. Stale/low quality food

b. Specified Grievances (Vertical Grievances)

  1. Food Premises - Hotel hygiene insufficient
  2. Food Aggregators - Non veg food delivered instead of veg and vice-versa
  3. Packaged Food - Brown/ Green mark not present, Sale after best before / use by date, Fake/Spurious Product, Nutritional Information missing, Damaged/Puffed Pack and FSSAI License not printed

Grievance Redressal System

In case of any grievance consumer can contact:

Tier I: Nodal Officer of Manufacturing unit / Food Aggregator

Tier II: Designated Food Safety Officer of the District / Food Safety Commissioner of the State / Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

Tier III: Consumer Forum

Consumer can also directly reach out to FSSAI for grievances through Food Safety connect (https://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in/cmsweb/). By providing the required details as mentioned on the site grievance could be registered.