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On Food Safety and Standard Act 2006

22,September, 2016

Food means any substance whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed. It includes packaged drinking water, vegetables, infant food products, meat, even the water used for food during its manufacture were all included. Food safety refers to the condition and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination of food borne illness.

The Food Safety & Standards Act 2006 aim to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of sale and wholesome food for human consumption in the country. In terms of discharge if its function stipulated under Section 16 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the Authority shall, inter alia, conduct surveys of enforcement and administration of the Act in various parts of the country, search, collect and analyse relevant information relating to food consumption and exposure of individuals risks, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various contaminants etc.

The Authority is also obliged to promote general awareness as to food safety and food standards. The Food Authority has been undertaking activities and programmes for dissemination of Information, Education and Awareness in this behalf through Media as also through association of different organisations and institutions in this behalf.

However, recognizing that effective enforcement of the provisions of the Act and the rules and regulations there under primarily rest with States and Union Territories and that there is need for greater focus on these activities. The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 repealed all the other food related laws such as Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954, Fruit Products Order 1955, Meat & Food Products Order 1973, Vegetables Oil Products (Control) Order 1947, Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) 1988 which were in operation prior to the enforcement of Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.

The most important and critical stakeholder in food safety is the consumer who is directly impacted by the safety of food in the country. It is necessary for the Authority to keep engaged with the consumers and apprise them of the emerging trends in food safety so that the concerns of the consumers are appropriately reflected in the food safety system in the country. Therefore Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FS&SAI) has regulated Food safety and standards act 2006 for every state of India to ensure food safety and standards for human consumption and to check the sub standard of any article of foods in every state by Food Safety Officer. Under Section 63 of FSSA 2006, if any person or food business operator carrying out a business without license is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with a fine which may extend to five Lakh rupees.

A person is also punishable with a fine of 10 lakhs rupees for misleading advertisement, falsely describing quality of food or give false guarantee to the consumers. Slaughterhouse should have proper hygiene and maintenance instruments and to be regularly checked by the medical concern doctor and thereafter it should be given to the slaughter house for human consumption. Under the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the consumers have the right to safety, they are protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life, and therefore, the goods which are hazardous to health are illegal and punishable.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare governs the FS&SAI. FS&SAI governs all food business operators in the country and has entrusted the powers at various levels to other designated authorities. In Nagaland, the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, rules and regulations 2011 is being implemented in the State from 2012.

However, to strictly enforce the Act, every State must have the separate Commissioner of Food Safety Commissioner whereas the Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, department of Health & Family Welfare is yet to take the charge and supervise his designate officials for effective implementation and to ensure food safety to the consumer. The Food Safety Officer must be appointed as an independent charge as per the Act and should checked all the Food Business Operators which includes Hotels, restaurants, canteens, tea stall, bakeries, street food vendors etc in all the respective district.

With the enforcement of this Act in Nagaland, any person in practice of selling of food products are required to have a license to sell such goods and the license is to be given by the Chief medical Officer. There are times where the FS&SAI has asked the Food Commissioner in the state to inspect and evaluate in the market and had suggested that the state food safety commissioners should prepare their line for action and collect samples of all the packaged products, even those which are not registered with FS&SAI and also told to take action if required.

The Chief Medical Officer and designated officers Kohima have informed all hotels, restaurants, provisions, groceries, home based canteens of schools, colleges, office, etc to obtain food safety license/registration from the Chief Medical Officer office, Kohima and has also inform to the food business operators that whose license/registration were valid upto 31st march 2016 to renew before stated date in order to avoid penalisation as per the food safety and standards act rules and regulations and newly established food business operators have also been directed to obtain the license/registration.

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