The Supreme Court is going tough on the issue of food adulteration, especially in case of Milk and Milk Products, where the problem does not seem to be ended and the complaints are still pouring in from many parts of India. The apex court has strongly reacted while terming it a very serious situation and has asked the Centre to make Milk Adulteration a severe offense and has further recommended for a penalty of life imprisonment.
The sitting bench of the Honorable SC, on hearing the adulteration issue has suggested that the present punishment of six months imprisonment should be made into more stringent to the life imprisonment for the offenders. The bench further suggested that IPC could not be invoked in the states because of FSS Act has provisions for the same, so the amendment is seen as a measure to empower states to take strict action.
The cases of adulteration in Milk & its Products have enormously gone up pan India and the valid evidence of this was the report from The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s findings on milk adulteration cases across all states in 2011. Last month, the court asked all states to file Affidavit on the steps taken by them to curb this issue. The court also sought explanation from some states where this menace has large impact and the situation is out of control.
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 ensures that only safe food should be served to the people and Food Business Operators are committed to follow the requirements else they have to face implications on non-adherence. The regulatory body on Food ‘FSSAI’ has made guidelines for the provisions on the following graded penalties:
* For Sub standard foods – Penalty upto Rs. 5 lacs
* For Misbranded foods – Upto Rs. 3 lacs
* For Food containing extraneous matters – Upto Rs. 1 lac
* For Manufacturing of food under unhygienic and unsanitary conditions – Upto Rs. 1 lac
* For Unsafe food – Imprisonment upto 6 months Plus fine upto Rs. 1 lac, raising to imprisonment upto life imprisonment plus penalty Rs. 10 lacs
* Compensation in case of injury or death of consumer – Not less than Rs. 5 lacs in case of dealth and upto Rs. 3 lacs in case of grievous injury and upto Rs. 1 lac in other cases of injury.