The Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006: Enactment & Features

Enactment of FSS Act, 2006
The Food Safety and Standards Bill, 2005 which was finally enacted as the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 by the Parliament and the same was published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) Part II, Section 1 on 24th August, 2006 after receiving assent of the President on 23rd August, 2006. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 was enacted as a consolidated Act and the following food acts and orders were repealed with its enactment:
(a) Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
(b) Fruit Products Order, 1955
(c) Meat Food Products Order, 1973
(d) Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
(e) Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
(f) Solvent Extracted Oil, De-oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
(g) Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
(h) Any other order under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 relating to food
Objectives, Mandate and Scope Of FSS Act, 2006
The objective of the FSS Act, 2006 is to make available safe and wholesome food to the
public, in keeping with changing needs and requirements. The Act also aimed to establish
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), as the single reference point for all
matters relating to FSS Act, Regulations and enforcement, by moving from multi- level, multi-multi-departmental control to a single line of command.
The major areas of departure of FSS Act from PFA act are:
Food safety is the primary responsibility of the Food Business Operator (FBO) as it knows best
how the food is manufactured and how safety can be compromised.
Risk assessment must form the basis of standard setting. The regulator needs to monitor the latest scientific development in the food sector, emerging safety issues across the world and anticipate safety risks before they actually hit.
FBOs at various stages in the food chain need to adhere to applicable safety and hygienic
practices as contamination can occur at any point in the food chain. Certification of food safety processes or safety audits become important to ensure food safety.
Transparency in setting standards wherein stakeholders are provided with reasonable time to give suggestions on proposed regulations as well as sufficient time to FBOs to make necessary changes in their processes to adopt the new regulations.
FBOs have a clear means of contesting the findings of government food laboratories by
appealing to accredited referral laboratories
In addition, the Authority in exercise of powers conferred by Sub-Section 1 of Section 97 of the Act, has also repealed the enactment and orders in the Second Schedule of the Act
th with effect from 5 August, 2011.
All kinds of food, whether unprocessed/semi-processed/processed, are covered
under the scope of the FSS Act. It also includes all kinds of substances and water that is used in the preparation of food. It is important to mention that, the Act considers live animals or products of agriculture, horticulture or animal husbandry as food only when it has already passed on from the hands of a farmer. Thus all activities throughout the food value chain, after primary production through distribution to retail and catering are under the ambit of the Act. The Act does not discriminate between a small hawker or a huge FBO and makes it mandatory for everyone handling food to keep it safe and fit for human consumption. Therefore, this Act is applicable to every person that is in the food business.
Salient Features of the FSS Act, 2006
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 marks a shift from a multi-level to a single line of control with focus on self-compliance rather than a pure regulatory regime. It envisages
regulation of manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food to ensure
availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for consumers
connected therewith. It provides for establishment of FSSAI as a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety, standards and wholesome/nutritious foods, regulations and enforcement.
2. The Act extends to the whole of India and provides for uniform licensing/ registration
regime across the Centre and the States. It also offers Integrated response to strategic
issues like Novel foods, genetically modified foods, international trade etc. The some of
salient features the Act may be summarized as under:
(a) Decentralization of licensing for food products. It empowers States to issue Registration and State License.
a) Effective, transparent and accountable regulatory framework. It has well defined
functions, powers and responsibilities of various food authorities, bodies and committees.
b) Emphasizes on gradual shift from regulatory regime to self-compliance.
c) Regulation of food imported in the country
d) Provision for food recall.
e) Surveillance
f) Envisages large network of food laboratories.
New justice dispensation system for fast-track disposal of cases. Provision for graded
penalties.
g) Consistency between domestic and international food policy measures without
reducing safeguards to public health and consumer protection.
h) The act emphasizes on training and awareness program regarding food safety for
business operators, consumers and regulators.

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