Home > NEWS > Nine industry bodies to launch nationwide agitation against FSSAI soon

Nine industry bodies to launch nationwide agitation against FSSAI soon

29,September, 2015

A National Joint Action Committee has been formed by nine food and allied industries bodies to highlight the issues that they have been facing by launching a nationwide agitation against FSSAI soon. To begin with, the committee has demanded refund of Rs 80 crore charged by FSSAI towards Product Approval application charges from traders when the system was in vogue prior to the Supreme Court order against it. Meanwhile, Nripendra Mishra, principal secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, has asked four ministries – food processing industries; health and family welfare; commerce; and consumer affairs; to send note regarding the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which is under review in wake of issues such as Product Approval.
According to sources, Mishra has asked the ministries to send their feedback on the said Act so that provisions can be reviewed keeping in view the concerns raised by the stakeholders. Mishra had last year also intervened into the matter, whereby the PMO had brokered an agreement that proprietary food using approved ingredients and additives does not require Product Approval.
However, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) continued its Product Approval policy.
More recently Harsimrat Badal, Union minister food processing industries, had informed that a Task Force had been setup by the PMO to review the issues pertaining to better coordination with regards to FSS Act amongst various ministries. The Task Force was set up in the backdrop of ban on Maggi.
Even as the Task Force continues with the review, the joint action committee has demanded refund of Rs 80 crore charged from traders or FBOs (food business operators).
The advisory regarding Product Approval was issued in 2013 and Rs 25,000 was the charge per application collected from FBOs (food business operators) seeking Product Approval.
Further, the committee has decided to hold its first meeting soon to chalk out plan for the nationwide agitation against FSSAI.
“Since 2013 the FSSAI has issued about 15 different advisories which are in public domain and with order of Supreme Court, all such advisories tend to be redundant and as such liable to be withdrawn. It has been further demanded that about Rs 80 crore have been collected by FSSAI for Product Approval through advisory and since advisory has no locus standi, the said funds should either be refunded to persons from whom collected or should be used for Clean India drive of prime minister. FSSAI has no propriety to keep such funds with it,” said the joint statement issued by the committee. The members added that they had urged the health minister to take immediate cognisance of the matter and take action so that FBOs may not be harassed by the administrative system.
In addition to the statement, Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) informed that as a consequence of order of Supreme Court delivered on August 19,2015, which set aside the authority of FSSAI for issuing advisories and regulating the food industry in the country through such advisories, nine national organisations of stakeholders of food industry joined hands together and formed a National Joint Action Committee to launch a nationwide campaign against “autocratic attitude” of FSSAI and to make a strong public advocacy in the country for review and overhauling of rules and regulations of Food Safety & Standards Act.
CAIT, Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association, Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association, Protein Food & Nutrition Development Association of India, Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs, All India Food Processors Association, Retail Druggist & Chemists Association, All India Transport Welfare Association and Bhartiya Kisan Morcha are the members of the committee.
In the context of the order of the apex court which held that advisories issued by FSSAI of India do not have the force of law, the committee demanded Union health minister J P Nadda that all advisories issued by FSSAI since year 2013 should be withdrawn immediately to give respect to the apex court order.
The committee also suggested the Union health minister to constitute a Joint Committee of Senior Officials and representatives of stakeholders to suggest amendments to FSS Act. The present Act is designed to promote packaged food business in the country and the MNCs and it is far from ground realities and that of Indian food habits. The traders are committed to provide safe and standard food in the country but the Act needs diagonal changes, it said.

Categories: NEWS
%d bloggers like this: