By now most FBOs are aware that all food articles manufactured or sold in India need to conform to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act) and the various regulations that it contains. Before the FSS Act came into operation food products had to conform to the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 and Rules and Regulations framed thereunder. Also, food products, for which there are no standards or have no other provisions, are not permitted to be manufactured, sold or imported in India.
Since 2006, FSSAI has framed a large number of standards. The Food Authority has also amended the standards for several food products, on the basis of fool-proof scientific evidence which ensures an appropriate level of safety of all food products. These amendment standards have become stricter and more stringent for some food products, while other standards have become a little more lenient as compared to the previous standards and norms, but they have been amended only after keeping in mind scientific evidence.
While the FSSAI has made new standards or amended some old standards, but the field machinery or the food safety officers, who have the task of enforcing food safety have lodged some cases against some FBOs. In some cases, these are violations of old standards, even if the impugned products are now in conformity with new or amended standards. FSSAI standards are all based on scientific evidence and when revising standards, the FSSAI has also kept in mind the need to ensure that consumer health and life is fully protected.
Therefore, FSSAI is of the opinion that pursuing pending cases of violation of old standards is counter-productive. It engages the state machinery, diverts the scarce resources of the government and puts a burden on the judicial system. Therefore, through this order dated 8 December 2017, the FSSAI has written to all Food Safety Commissioners of all States and UTs, advising them to either withdraw or stop pursuing cases of violation of old standards and norms. Only those pending cases must be pursued that are in violation of new or amended and revised standards. This order will ensure that FBOs are not harassed, especially if they have adopted the standards are in conformity with new or revised standards currently. The FSSAI would also like to have updates of this exercise from time to time.