This is a video recording of the Webinar on “Introduction to Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 – live Q&A with experts”, held on November 29, 2013.
The new act empowers FBOs for a self compliance regulatory regime through food safety management systems and it also ensures the consumer safety through international food safety norms.
Our experts discussed the following during an interactive Question & Answer session:
- What is Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006?
- How is it different from earlier Acts?
- What is the definition of Food?
- Who is a Food Business Operator?
- Why you need to register or to obtain a License under FSS Act/Rules & Regulations?
- What are the General & Specific Requirements of Food Labelling?
- What kind of Penalties on non-compliance of the provisions of FSS Act/Rules & Regulations?
- Why there is a need for testing of food materials?
- What is the role of NABL accredited laboratories?
Brief about our experts:
Dr. P K Vats
Dr. Pawan Vats has been a resource person for various programs like – the FSSAI training of Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers and Adjucating Officers besides supervising the work of Food Safety Officers. He has been actively involved in food laws, review & drafting of Delhi PFA rules, Food Safety Act & rules and allied activities.
He holds Ph.D in Chemistry and is a post-graduate in Foods & Drugs Analysis. Dr. Pawan Vats has worked as a senior officer in the department of food safety, Govt of NCT of Delhi. He has delivered many lectures on various subjects like – Provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, rules & regulations, Procedure of sampling, analysis, adjudication & prosecution, Food traceability and recall, surveillance, sampling, Licensing & Registration. He has also addressed the industry bodies; All India Food Processors Association, Hotel and Restaurant Association of India, All India Rice Exporters Association, All India Dairy Association.
Dr. Saurabh Arora
PhD in Pharmaceutics
Executive Director: Arbro Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Managing Director: Auriga Research Ltd.
Leading the services business of Arbro and Auriga for over 9 Yrs
Managing 4 labs and team of over 250 people
Hope you will find this informative and useful.
We will welcome your queries and suggestions.
Transcript of this webinar
Introduction to Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006
Dr. Saurabh: What is Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006?
Dr. Vats: As you are aware in our country plenty of food laws and many regulatory bodies under these laws, were in existence therefore there was a need to convert all food laws and to have its single regulatory body so this Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 came into existence. So this food safety and standards act is an act which consolidates all the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards of food products and also to regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution transportation, sale and import of the food articles to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food to the country men.
Dr. Saurabh: Why there was a need for the new Act?
Dr. Vats: Prior to this new Food Safety Standards Act, 2006, there was multiplicity of food laws and in order to shift the multi-level and multi-department control to single control there was a need for a new law and also to have a single reference point for all matters relating to Food Safety Standards and enforcement. Earlier there were so many departments & so many controlling authorities and lot of confusion, so in order to remove all those problems the FSS Act came into existence. This new Act harmonizes the standards with the international standards. No food business can be carried out without obtaining a license or registration and provision for graded penalties have been introduced in the new Act.
And even the interest of the consumer has been taken care well in the new Act.
Under the provision of the previous Act, even for a smaller offense like, if the moisture is found more than the prescribed limit then in that case, there was a penalty by imprisonment along with the fine. But under the new Act these penalties have been graded and only monetary penalties are suggested for minor offenses like for misbranded and substandard food. If the food is found unsafe in such cases there is a provision for imprisonment along with the monetary fine.
Dr, Saurabh: What are the prevalent laws to food prior to FSS Act, 2006?
Dr. Vats: Before this new FSS Act, 2006, there were so many food laws related to food like Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, The Fruits Products Order, 1955, The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992, which helps with the production and sales distribution of milk and dairy products, then The Meat Food Products Order, then again the Edible Oils Packing (Regulations) order, 1988 and 2-3 other orders relating to the sales and distribution of oils were available and Any Other Order Issued Under The Essential Commodities Act Relating To Food, all have been consolidated together under the new food safety standards act, FSS Act, 2006.
And now, whatever Acts, Rules and Regulation that I have mentioned, they all have been consolidated into single Act. The food business operators, who were already licensed or registered with the previous existed food laws whether TFA and FPA or milk and milk product order, they all are supposed to register or to obtain a license under the new Food Safety Standards Act, 2006, the date for the conversion of food business under the new act is upto 4th Feb 2014.
Dr. Saurabh: What happened to Agmark & Municipal licenses?
Dr. Vats: They are very much in existence, only 7 acts & orders and Any order under issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 relating to food, only these have been repealed. The municipality Acts are still in existence, even Agmark is also in existence, so all the compliances regarding municipality Acts as well as Agmark, they have to be followed as they have not been repealed.
Dr, Saurabh: Who is a food business operator and what do you mean by food business?
Dr. Vats: With the passes of this new law Act, they have changed the name of the vendor, now, under the new Act, a respectable name has been given whosoever is dealing with the food activity. Earlier the term vendor was used but now whosoever is involved with the activity of food is called a food business operator. So, the food business operator is any person or any firm or company which is involved with the business of food is a food business operator.
Every food which is for the human consumption is covered under the food but the substances like drugs and cosmetics and others have been excluded from the ambit of food, legally speaking in terms of the Food Safety & Standards Act.
Food means any substance whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed which is intended for human consumption and it includes genetically modified food, engineered food, food as ingredients, packaged food, drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum and any substance including water being used into the food during the manufacture, preparation or treatment. It does not include any animal feed. Live animals unless they are prepared & processed for the market for human consumption. As I have already informed that the drugs and medicinal products like cosmetics, narcotics or psychotropic substances are not covered under food. So in the New Food Safety Standards Act, Water has also been included in food but earlier water was excluded from the list of food product. But now, water is being used in the manufacture, processing of any food products as one of the ingredient including the packaged drinking water, is a food.
As long as a food remains in the hand of the farmer or in his field, it is not covered under the definition of food as per the Act, but once it reaches the market for sale it is covered under the Act.
Dr. Saurabh: Who needs Registration and who needs licensing?
Dr. Vats: The Food Safety and Standards Act says, no food business can be carried out without obtaining a license or a registration. The food business operator, they have been categorized in three categories the one who are petty food business operators and whose annual turnover is less than Rs. 12 Lacs, he has to obtain a registration certificate as he is covered under the registration provision. For others whose annual turnover is more than Rs. 12 Lacs, they have to obtain a license either under the state licensing authority or from the central licensing authority, depending upon the criteria based on the nature and volume of the business.
Dr. Saurabh: Where can food business operators register?
Dr. Vats: For registration, the state food safety commissioner notifies the authority whether the state food safety officer or the municipal authorities have to carry out the procedure for registration. So whatever, whosoever has been notified for the registration has to be approached for that.
Some states notify their food safety officer for the job of registration and in some cases the state food safety commissioner can notify the municipalities or the local bodies working in different parts of the state for the empowerment to do the registration.
As far as licensing is concerned, the state designated officer is empowered to issue the license.
Dr, Saurabh: From where FBOs get a license?
Dr. Vats: This licensing is done at two stages; it also depends on the category of the food business operator. As I told you, if the turnover is upto Rs.12 lacs then he has to go for a registration. If the turnover is more than Rs. 12 lacs then he has to obtain a license. But it also depends upon the nature of the business, there are turnover categories, if the person is a wholesaler or a distribution and the annual turnover is more than Rs. 12 lacs and upto Rs. 20 crores, then he has to go for the state license but if the turnover is more than Rs. 20 crores then he has to apply for the central license. Similarly for the manufacturer also, if the turnover is more than 2 MT per day then he has to go for central licensing but if the annual turnover is upto Rs. 12 lacs but the manufacturing capacity is below 2 MT then he has to go for the state license.
Dr, Saurabh: What is the procedure for registration?
Dr. Vats: Any food business operator who falls under the category of registration has to apply for the registration in form A. For applying for the registration, the application along with a fee of Rs. 100 in the form of demand draft or any other form prescribed by the registering authority, with the documents required for the registration such as identity card or a proof of any other identity.
The general procedure, on submitting the application for registration, the inspection is carried out by the administrative bodies. After the inspection, the authorities may grant or reject application. If FBO doesn’t hear within 30 days then he can start his business without waiting for it.
Usually, the registration certificate is issued within 30 days, if FBO does not get any communication by that time, then he/she may continue his business and is deemed to be registered.
Dr. Saurabh: What is the procedure for license?
Dr. Vats: Similarly for a license also he has to fill up an application form B along with the requisite licensing procedure with the list of documents which are there in the licensing regulations. After carrying out the inspection of the food business by the licensing authority, they may either grant or reject the license. One has to fill the application form B along with the requisite licence fee and the required documents.
A licensing application along with the document is synchronized, in case of some fault or if some document is missing, the FBO has to complete the application procedure. When in all respect the application is completed with the requisite documentation and successfully submitted then the license has to be issued within 60 days time frame or it has to be rejected whatever it is thus including the licensing inspection of FBO.
Dr, Saurabh: What are the conditions of maintaining the license or registration?
Dr. Vats: When the application for licensing form is deposited with the licensing authority one declaration is also given in the form of affidavit or otherwise that, I shall be complying with the entire requirement as mentioned in the schedule 4 of the licensing. He has already given an undertaking that he has to comply all the sanitary and hygienic requirements as mentioned in the schedule 4. Separate sanitary and hygienic conditions for different types of food business or street food vendors who are covered under registration, all have to comply with the requirements specified in schedule 4. Besides that, displaying a true copy of the license granted in Form C shall at all times at a prominent place in the premises. FBO has to allow licensing authority to carry out the inspection in the premises and after obtaining the license if there are any changes in the premises then FBO is required to intimate the licensing authority about the change or modification. One of the licensing conditions specified for the manufacturing units – they have to employ the technical person and the qualification of the technical person has also been prescribed. Another condition, the periodic annual return has to be submitted and in case of the food business operators dealing with milk and milk products and manufacturing of milk and milk products they have to submit 6 months annual returns, it is the some of the electing conditions they have to complying. There are many more licensing conditions are there, they can manufacture and sale or distribute those items for licensed.
They have to maintain all the thoughts of their sale, purchase of raw material. Daily using raw materials and their production they have to maintain all the sanitary and hygienic conditions. There are also the one of main important licensing conditions that they have to get their materials, food products, chemically and microbiological tested from the NABL lab at least ones in 6 months is also one of the requirements of license and the most important the licensing shall by the food material or the raw materials and sell food products only from or to license registered at due that means heat procure any raw material from only the licensing or registry food business operator. It is not license or its not registered purchase any raw material and the manufacturer he is further giving for distribution or supplying to his wholesaler or distributor he must be licensed. And the distributor is further sense to the retailer; the retailer must be licensed so no food business can be carried out between two food business operators if they are not licensed. Of course consumer, they can sell retailer can sell to the consumer they are the food business operators his purchasing or selling another food business operator then they both should be licensed.
Dr, Saurabh: What are the common offenses and penalties?
Dr. Vats: The penalties were not graded and for every offense there was imprisonment along with the fine. What under the new act the penalties and graded there are some of the offenses for which only when monetary penalties are there and for some its imprisonment & fine. But in general what we see most of the food business operators have not complying with the labeling requirements and I may say even more than 50% samples found nonconforming violation of labeling requirements whether they have not mentioned the batch no. or they have not mentioned the cooler if added. They have not mentioned the food additives as the manner in which its required so most of the cases found violating of misbranded than other substandard means food product is not according to the standardrs laid down under the regulations. If it is not complying with the standards as they laid down in the regulation then its substandard, if there is some labeling defect then its misbranded food and for substandard food the penalty, monetary panelties upto Rs. 50 lac and if the food is found to be misbranded that means violating some labeling provision then the penalties upto Rs.3 lac.
One thing is very important here, misleading advertisement the consumer then its taken very seriously and in this case the penalty is upto Rs. 10 Lacs, monetary penalty upto Rs. 10 lac.
And if the food is manufactured and processed under unhygienic conditions, unsanitary conditions then penalty is upto Rs. 1 lac. The food business activities carried out without license or registration then there is a separate set of penalties and unsafe food, if food is found unsafe which is injurious to health in that case the penalty is very stringent its starting from imprisonment of 6 months and fine is upto Rs. 1 Lac. And it is raising imprisonment upto life imprisonment must penalty upto Rs. 10 lac. Because of consumption of that food the consumer has suffered then he has to pay the compensation also upto the consumer and compensation in case of injury or death of consumer then not upto Rs. 5 Lac in case of death and upto Rs. 3 Lac in case of grievance injury and upto Rs. 1 lac in case of injury from these laws you can say takes care of a consumer also.
Dr. Saurabh: What are the penalties on non-compliance of other provisions of FSS Act/ Rules & Regulation?
Dr. Vats: There are certain offences under the act for example if someone is carrying out a business without obtaining a registration or license in that case if it’s entitled or he is eligible or he is eligible or he is open then registration but he is not getting himself registered the penalties fine upto Rs. 10 Lacs if he falls under the category to obtain the license then imprisonment upto 6 months plus fine upto Rs. 5 Lacs and penalty for obstructing a food safety officer is also prescribed if someone does not allow, food safety officer to do his job. The prevention carrying out his job then the penalty imprisonment of 3 months plus a fine of Rs. 1 lac and if he give false information to the food safety officer then imprisonment upto 3 months plus a fine upto Rs. 2 Lacs is there.
Dr, Saurabh: Is there a need for testing of food materials under the act?
Dr. Vats: Under the licensing condition also its one of the requirements, its regulatory requirement its mandatory testing of food articles, raw materials at least ones every 6 months. Again the water used the manufacture, processing any other food product then it’s used as the one of the ingredient then it has to be portable and even circuit he has to obtain. Water should be tested according to ISO and other parameters for testing of these food articles are chemical, microbiological contaminated nutritional competition and food additives, pesticides residue and even packaging food materials because the packaging food material that is also complying with the food safety standard packaging material.
Dr. Saurabh: What is the role of NABL accredited laboratories under the Act?
Dr. Vats: In the earlier prevention of food adulteration act, when any sample picked up that food safety officer that sample was sent to state food laboratory and only no private analysis by the private analysis by the private food laboratory was recognized by the government. Now the section 43 of the new act that recognized that the food products should be the tested privately on so can be tested privately but that should be the lab should be NABL accredited and there is a food safety authority of India. They have notified around 60 or 78 food laboratory for that purpose.
Even the food business operators when sample is picked up one of the counterpart he can send for analysis he can ask the food safety officer to send one counterpart of the sample on the lab office on choice but that should be analyze that should fall in the same state or example the food safety officer of Delhi takes any sample of course ones counterpart he will be sending to the states food laboratory and the other counterpart the food business operator can ask the food safety officer to send the NABL lab. Any NABL lab which situated in Delhi. Many NABL Food testing laboratories has been notified of Delhi. You may be aware of a NABL lab e.i, ARBRO and Sri Ram testing House.