Food Safety and Standards Act

SARUNGBAM LUCY

Maintaining the food quality levels in order to ensure safety and providing satisfaction to every consumer is the aim of every Food Business Operator. It is important for people to understand how their behavior and activities contribute to the safety of food and how they can decrease the risk of foodborne illness. From processes on the farm to practices in the kitchen, human activities play an important role in food safety.

Food standard: A set of criteria that any food item must meet if it is to be suitable for human consumption - such as source, composition, appearance, freshness, permissible additives, and maximum bacterial content is known as "Food standard."

Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 lays down standards and guidelines for consumer safety, protection of consumer health and regulation of the food sector .It seeks to harmonise Indian standards with the international standards, and facilitates international trade in food articles. The Act lays down general provisions for food additives and processing of articles as well. It is an act formulated to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India which lays down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been created under this Act. FSSAI regulates the food sector by laying down guidelines and standards to be followed by food businesses. It also specifies procedures for accreditation of laboratories and provides advice to the central and state government in matters relating to food safety. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for implementation of the Act. The Act deals with administrative mechanism at the state level. It also provides for setting up of Food Safety Appellate tribunal for adjudication and trails under food standard offence.

The law is significant in ensuring quality food to the consumer. It protects consumer interest by prohibiting misleading advertisement and penalizing adulteration. In other words, the Act seeks to enhance quality of food related information to consumers and also by setting standards which, when effectively enforced by Commissioners in the States would result in increased consumer welfare. The Food Safety Act consolidates all the previously existing laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. The Food Authority acts as a single window to provide guidance and issue clarifications/advisories for all matters related to food safety

The objective of the food law is to make available safe, pure, wholesome and nutritious food to the public. To give effect to the provisions of this Act, rules and regulations have been made which is known as the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011 and Regulations 2011.

The benefits of food safety regulations depend on law enforcing authorities implementing the regulations and monitoring the compliance. With the present scenario in our state Manipur, it is the duty of the present ruling authorities to check the standards and quality of foods that are manufactured within the State, imported through Burma and the foods that are being supplied from other States. The public (consumers) must be aware of the quality of the food that they are purchasing for consumption. Awareness programmes must be organized in rural areas by the concerned authorities.

Safety is not defined as a situation with total absence of hazards. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN and World Health Organizations, food safety refers to control of all those hazards, whether chronic or acute, that may make food injurious to the health of the consumer. In order to combat and manage food borne hazards, monitoring and surveillance through food regulations will be an actual solution at this current status as per my opinion.


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