Replying to a question raised by Rajya Sabha Member YS Chowdhry in the Parliament the Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan gave in writing that guidelines and advisories are issued all the time to FBOs by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). It is mandatory for all Food Business Operators in the country to comply with FSSAI rules and regulations and the fact that they have to obtain either a license or registration under FSS Act, 2006 for running a food business in India ensures that FBOs are adhering to these regulations. Advisories and guidelines are additional stipulations in keeping with the requirements of the Food Act and which all FBOs follow in addition to the rules and regulations notified under the Act.
Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, is an Act of parliament which consolidates the laws relating to food and under which the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (apex food regulatory body in India) was established for the successful implementations of the requirements of the FSS Act. The FSSAI is responsible 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 and for matters connected therewith or incidental there to.”
All FSSA Rules and Regulations which come under the provision of the Food Act and are available on the website www.fssai.gov.in and these also serve as guidelines to all food business operators. Every food business operator must refer to the website for any clarification of any provisions and also to adhere to all timely advisories that the apex food regulator puts up on its website so these can prove useful as guidelines to ensure food safety.
The Health Minister also stated that since there are provisions in the Food Act for monitoring and surveying FBOs to enforce rules and to regulate them. Testing food in the laboratories also serves as a regulatory measure and for this purpose, there are 68 food testing laboratories that have been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories and authorized by FSSAI.
In the 12th Five Year Plan 1,500 crores was earmarked for the modernization and up gradation of these laboratories besides what was sanctioned in the state government budgets in order to strengthen the testing facilities as well as to keep the state food regulatory machinery fully functional and efficient.