Office Location

Delhi:

E-5, 2nd Floor, Defence Colony
New Delhi - 110024
Tel : 011-24336744

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Mumbai:

Office No. 1410, 14th Floor, Maker Chamber V, Nariman Point, Mumbai
Tel : +91 22-22873499

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Gurgaon:

Level 18, One Horizon Center, Golf Course Road, DLF Phase 5, Sector 43, Gurgaon 122002, India
Tel : +91 124 668 8146 / +91 124 668 8147

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Mumbai (Entertainment and Media Practice)

Office No. 213, 2nd Floor, A-wing, Crystal Plaza, Andheri Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai.
Tel : 022-62360762

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Mumbai (Corporate and Transactional Practice)

909/A, Capital Building, Bandra Kurla Complex, East Mumbai- 400098

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Bangalore:

21/2, 1st Main Road,
Opp Indian overseas Bank,
Gandhinagar,
Bengaluru - 560009

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Kanpur:

77A, Cantt., Kanpur - 208004

Overview of Food Safety and Standard 2006

The food processing industry is one of the largest sectors in India in terms of
production, growth, consumption, and export. Food processing industry is widely
recognized as the 'sunrise industry' in India and is of enormous significance for India’s
development because of the vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the
two pillars of the economy, namely Industry and Agriculture. As the country moves on the path of development, agricultural sector evolves from traditional level farming to commercial agriculture producing high value and processed products.

The Indian food regulations comprise various food laws that have been enacted at different points of time, and are under the ambit of various ministries of Government of India (GOI). Historically they were introduced to complement and supplement each other in achieving total food safety and quality. The result is that the food sector in India is governed by a number of different statutes rather than a single comprehensive enactment. Each ministry has prescribed its set of rules and standards under relevant acts and orders often creating a confusing and sometimes contradictory environment for the industry. In India multiple regulations for food have been enacted at different points of time to supplement each other. This incremental approach has lead to incoherence and inconsistency in the food sector regulatory scenario. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 is a new statute that integrates eight different existing food laws, and is a major transformation that ensures to bring paradigm shift in the food regulatory scenario of the country. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (the Act) has 12 chapters containing 101 sections and two schedules. The Act incorporates the salient provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954, and is based on international legislations and instrumentalities. This Act with its three tier structure (an apex food safety and standards authority, a central advisory committee and various scientific panels and committees) is expected to lay more emphasis on science based and participatory decisions while adopting the contemporary approach in both standard setting and implementation.

Salient Features of the Act:

A brief overview of the salient features of the Act. This overview is not intended to be complete or all-inclusive, but does provide some key points;

  1. The Act integrates eight different food related statutes. The Act also aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi-level, multi-departmental control to a single line of command.
  2. The Act establishes the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as an apex regulatory authority consisting of a Chairperson and 22 members.
  3. The Act provides the general administrative principles to be followed by the Central Government, State Governments, and FSSAI while implementing the provisions of this Act.
  4. The Act prohibits advertisements which are misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this Act, and prohibits unfair trade practices.
  5. All imports of articles of food are subject to this Act.  No person shall import any unsafe or misbranded or sub-standard food or food containing extraneous matter.
  6. The Act impose the responsibility on the food business operator to ensure that the articles of food satisfy the requirements of this Act at all stages of production, processing, import, distribution and sale within the businesses under his control.
  7. The Act also imposes certain liabilities on the manufacturers, packers, wholesalers, distributors and sellers if an article of food fails to meet the requirements of this Act.
  8. The Act compels the establishment of food recall procedures.
  9. The FSSAI and the State Food Safety Authorities are responsible for the enforcement of this Act. The Act establishes a general authority line for the efficient enforcement of the Act.
  10. The Act compel licensing and registration of food business. Small business operators and temporary stall holders are exempted from the license but need to get their businesses registered with the local municipality.
  11. The Act provides general provisions relating to offences and penalties for failure to comply with the requirements of this Act. The Act makes provision for graded penalties where offenses like manufacturing; storing or selling misbranded or sub-standard food is punished with a fine, and more serious offences with imprisonment.

 

Mandatory requirement for import of food products in India

Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, hereinafter referred as the Act, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India, hereinafter referred as FSSAI, has a mandate of ensuring safety of food items imported into the country. There has been an introduction of the Indian Food Safety and Standard rules and guidelines in August 2011. Given below is an overview of current guidelines, rules and regulations of FSS Act which are relevant in matters of import of food and food products into India.
To understand the requirements one should understand the following sections:
Section 3(j) of the Act classifies food as “Food” means any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and includes primary food to the extent defined in clause (zk), genetically modified or engineered food or food containing such ingredients, infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment but does not include any animal feed, live animals unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption, plants, prior to harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances :
Provided that the Central Government may declare, by notification in the Official Gazette, any other article as food for the purposes of this Act having regards to its use, nature, substance or quality;
Section 3(n) of the Act classifies import of foods as a food business, which includes undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution of food.
Section 3(v) lays down that import means bringing into India any article of food by land, sea or air.           
The Food Import Clearance system is governed under the Section 25(1) of the FSS Act 2006:    
Section 25 of The Food Safety and Standards Act.
All imports of articles of food to be subject to this Act.
(1) No person shall import into India –
(i) any unsafe or misbranded or sub-standard food or food containing
extraneous matter;
(ii) any article of food for the import of which a licence is required under any Act or rules or regulations, except in accordance with the conditions of the licence; and
(iii) any article of food in contravention of any other provision of this Act or
of any rule or regulation made thereunder or any other Act.
2) The Central Government shall, while prohibiting, restricting or otherwise
regulating import of article of food under the Foreign Trade (Development and ) Act, 1992 (22 of 1992), follow the standards laid down by the Food Authority under the provisions of this Act and the Rules and regulations made thereunder.
GENERAL REQUIREMENT REGARDING IMPORT POLICY

  1. Quality and Packaging requirements:

Import of all edible/food products including tea, domestic sale and manufacture of which are governed by Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 and rules, these rules are made by the Central Government in exercise of the power conferred by section 91 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (34 of 2006), shall also be subject to the conditions laid down in the aforesaid Act and rules framed thereunder. Import of all these products will have to comply with the quality and packaging requirements as laid down in the Act. Compliance of these conditions is to be ensured before allowing customs clearance of the consignment. The conditions are as follows-
(1)Every Food Importer shall ensure that the food sought to be imported shall be packed and labelled in the manner prescribed under FSS Regulations and subject to any modifications that the Food Authority may prescribe from time to time in relation to import of food. These regulations are incorporated in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (k) of subsection (2) of section 92 read with section 23 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (34 of 2006) the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India proposes to make Food Safety and Standards Regulations in so far they relates to Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
(2) Every consignment of food sought to be imported to India shall be packed in such manner as would facilitate the inspection and collection of samples from the consignment. The Food Importer shall take necessary steps to ensure compliance with the above requirement.
(3) Any consignment of multiple foods or food falling under different categories packed in a single container or carton or pallet or skid , shall be packed in such a way that the authorised officer has access to all of them and thereby facilitating easy drawal of samples. In absence of such provision the Authorised Officer shall order for destuffing the container to create a gully for the safe passage. Alternatively the Food Importer shall provide a stuffing list to the Authorised Officer containing representative samples of all food items under import.
(4) In cases of stuffing list covered by sub-rule (3), the exporter shall furnish a declaration stating that the goods stuffed inside the container match with the sample placed in the Stuffing List at the top.
(B) Shelf Life:
Import of all edible /food products, domestic sale and manufacture of which are governed by Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 and rules, these rules are made by the Central Government in exercise of the power conferred by section 91 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (34 of 2006), shall also be subject to the condition that, at the time of importation, the products are having a valid shelf life of not less than 60% of its original life. Shelf life of the product is to be calculated, based on the declaration given on the label of the product, regarding its date of manufacture and the due date for expiry.
However, this condition of 60% shelf life stipulated above is not applicable to re-import for export purpose under Foreign Trade Policy. Re-import for export purpose will be subject to following conditions:
(i)Re-imported edible/food products to meet stipulated phytosanitary conditions;
(ii)Importers to give an undertaking to Customs that re-imported the goods are   not sold in the domestic market;
(iii)Importers to submit a certificate to Customs that such goods have been re- exported.
(C)Meat and Meat Products including Poultry products:
Import of meat and poultry products will be subject to the compliance of conditions regarding manufacture, slaughter, packing, labeling and quality conditions as laid down in Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 and rules, these rules are made by the Central Government in exercise of the power conferred by section 91 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (34 of 2006). All manufacturers of meat/poultry products exporting their goods to India shall be required to meet the sanitary and hygienic requirements as stipulated under the aforementioned Act and rules framed. The imported product shall also comply with the specified packaging, labeling and quality standards as laid down therein. Compliance of these conditions is to be ensured before allowing customs clearance of the consignment.
(D) Packaged Products:
All such packaged products, which are subject to provisions of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 when produced/ packed/ sold in domestic market, shall be subject to compliance of all the provisions of the said rules, when imported into India. All prepackaged commodities, imported into India, shall in particular carry the following declarations:
(a)Name and address of the importer;
(b)Generic or common name of the commodity packed;
(c)Net quantity in terms of standard unit of weights and measures. If the net quantity in the imported package is given in any other unit, its equivalent in terms of standard units shall be declared by the importer;
(d)Month and year of packing in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported;
(e)Maximum retail sale price at which the commodity in packaged form may be sold to the ultimate consumer. This price shall include all taxes local or otherwise, freight, transport charges, commission payable to dealers, and all charges towards advertising, delivery, packing, forwarding and the like, as the case may be.
(E) Genetically Modified Food, Feed, Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) and Living Modified Organisms (LMOs):
Import of Genetically Modified Food, Feed, Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) and Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) will be subject to the following conditions:
(a) The import of GMOs / LMOs for the purpose of
(i)R & D;
(ii)Food;
(iii)Feed;
(iv)Processing in Bulk and
(v)For Environment release
will be governed by the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Rules framed thereunder.
(b) The import of any Food, Feed, raw or processed or any ingredient of food, food additives or any food product that contains GM material and is being used either for Industrial production, Environmental release, or field application will be allowed only with the approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), set up by the Ministry of Environment & Forests.
(c) Institutes / Companies who wish to import Genetically Modified material for R & D purposes will submit their proposal to the Review Committee for Genetic Modification (RCGM) under the Department of Bio-Technology. In case the Companies / Institutes use these Genetically Modified material for commercial purposes, approval of GEAC is also required.
(d) At the time of import all consignments containing products which have been subjected to Genetic Modification will carry a declaration stating that the product is Genetically Modified. In case a consignment does not carry such a declaration and is later found to contain Genetically Modified material, the importer is liable to penal action under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has accorded ‘one time approval’ for import of GM Soyabean oil (crude de-gummed/ refined form) derived from Round- up, Ready Soybean for the purpose of consumption after refining. Therefore, above conditions will not apply to the import of said Soyabean Oil till further orders.
(F) Meat and Poultry Products:
(a)Beef and Products containing Beef:
Beef, in any form, and products containing beef in any form are ‘Prohibited’ for imports. Accordingly, all consignments of ‘edible oils’ and ‘processed food products’, imported in bulk, shall carry a declaration from the concerned exporter on the shipping documents that the consignment does not contain beef in any form. All consignments of edible products, imported in consumer packs, shall carry a declaration on the label of the package that the product does not contain beef in any form.
(b)Sanitary Import Permit:
Import of Meat and Meat Products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat, tissue or organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat, egg and egg powder, milk and milk products, bovine, ovine and caprine embryos, ova or semen; and pet food products of animal origin shall be subject to a sanitary import permit to be issued by Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, as per Section 3A of Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, as incorporated by Live Stock Importation (Amendment) Act, 2001 (Act No. 28 of 2001, 29th August, 2001), or as amended from time to time.
(G) Furnishing of documents by the Food Importer:
(1) Every Food Importer shall furnish documents to the Customs authorities required under the Customs Act and the Rules there under, in duplicate. While one set shall be retained by the Customs Authorities, the other set of such documents shall be forwarded to the Authorised Officer of the respective Point of Import.
(2) In addition to the above, the Food Importer shall file the following documents with the Authorised Officer:
(a) Test/Analysis Report from an authorised laboratory in the country of origin, if any;
(b) Affidavit stating that the imported food articles comply with the laws of India and meet the standards defined by the Food Authority;
(c) Country of Origin Certificate;
(d) Transit countries list;
(e) Declaration of end-use;
(f) Temperature profile report, etc. as may be required;
(g) Bill of entry, examination order from the customs department;
(h) Stuffing list;
(i) Representative sealed sample from the same batch in case of imported food article is packed in sealed containers in order to maintain aseptic or hygroscopic conditions;
(j) Any other reports or documents that would be specified by Food Authority from time to time.
(H) Mandatory advance notice in certain cases:
The Food Authority shall from time to time specify categories of food, or food imported from certain countries of origin, where the Food Importer shall be required to give a mandatory advance notice of two weeks, or any other period specified by the Food Authority, prior to the date of import of the food, to the Customs department and the Authorised Officer of the respective point of import.
(I) Channelisation of food imports:
The Food Authority shall publish an indicative list of points of import into the country, and the infrastructure capability of such points of import to handle the import from the perspective of storage and laboratory testing facilities available for various kinds of food articles for the benefit of the Food Importers to channelise the imports accordingly.
                                                           

FOOD RECALL

While Food Recall is a relatively new concept in India, with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, focusing on the vital aspect, awareness is growing and companies are looking at is as a vital link in the supply chain.
Indian companies are slowly realizing that at times the product they have released in the market needs to be recalled. And this can be minimized if the company’s recall system is well planned, implemented and understood by those who are involved in the core activities of sourcing, manufacturing and distribution functions.
With the kind of emphasis, which is being given to food safety nowadays, consumers are also very much aware and at the same time concerned about the safety of the product they consume.
By section 28 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, of the government of India emphasizes the need for product recall.
Section 28 states as follows:
 
Food Recall Procedures.

(1) If a food business operator considers or has reasons to believe that a food which he has processed, manufactured or distributed is not in compliance with this Act, or the rules or regulations, made thereunder, he shall immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the food in question from the market and consumers indicating reasons for its withdrawal and inform the competent authorities thereof.
(2) A food business operator shall immediately inform the competent authorities and co-operate with them, if he considers or has reasons to believe that a food which he has placed on the market may be unsafe for the consumers.
(3) The food business operator shall inform the competent authorities of the action taken to prevent risks to the consumer and shall not prevent or discourage any person from cooperating, in accordance with this Act, with the competent authorities, where this may prevent, reduce or eliminate a risk arising from a food.
(4) Every food business operator shall follow such conditions and guidelines relating to food recall procedures as the Food Authority may specify by regulations.

In the past, in order to strengthen food safety, the FSSAI had released the draft regulation known as Food Authority’s Food Recall Procedures Regulations, 2009, which is still under consideration and shall come into force from date of its notification in the official gazette.

 

           OFFENCES AND PENALITIES

 

Section

Offence

Penalties

          50

For selling food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded.

Penalty not exceeding two lakh rupees.

          51

Person who whether by himself or by any other person on his behalf manufactures for sale or stores or sells or distributes or imports any article of food for human consumption which is sub-standard

Penalty which may extend to five lakh rupees;

         52

For Misbranded food.

Penalty which may extend to three lakh rupees.

        53

For misleading advertisement;

  1. falsely describes any food; or
  2. is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of any food or gives false guarantee

Penalty which may extend to ten lakh rupees

        54

For food Containing extraneous matter.

Penalty which may extend to one lakh Rupees.

        55

Failure to comply with the directions of Food Safety Officer

Penalty which may extend to two Lakh rupees.

       56

For unhygienic or Unsanitary processing or Manufacturing of food.

Penalty which may extend to one lakh rupees.

      57

Imports or manufactures for sale, or stores, sells or distribute any adulterant shall be liable

(i) where such adulterant is not injurious to health, to a penalty not exceeding
two lakh rupees;
(ii) where such adulterant is injurious to health, to a penalty not exceeding ten
lakh rupees.

        58

Penalty for contraventions for which no specific penalty is provided

Penalty which may extend to two lakh rupees.

         59

sale or stores or sells or distributes or imports any article of food for human consumption which is unsafe

(i) where such failure or contravention does not result in injury, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with fine which may extend to one
lakh rupees;
(ii) where such failure or contravention results in a non-grievous injury, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and also with fine which may extend to three lakh rupees;
(iii) where such failure or contravention results in a grievous injury, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six years and also with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees;
(iv) where such failure or contravention results in death, with imprisonment for
a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and also with fine which shall not be less than ten lakh rupees

          60

Punishment for interfering with seized items i.e. without the permission of the Food Safety Officer, retains, removes or tampers with any food, vehicle, equipment, package or labeling or advertising material

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

      61

False Information; in connection with the requirement or direction under this act

Imprisonment for a term which extends for three months and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees

      62

Obstructing and impersonating food safety officer

Imprisonment for a term which may extend for three months and also with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees

       63

Punishment for carrying out a business without license.

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees.

       64

having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under this Act subsequently commits and is convicted of the same offence, he shall be liable to

(i) twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on a first conviction,
subject to the punishment being maximum provided for the same offence ; and
(ii) a further fine on daily basis which may extend upto one lakh rupees, where
the offence is a continuing one ; and
(iii) his license shall be cancelled.

       65

Compensation in case of injury or death of consumer.

(a) not less than five lakh rupees in case of death;
(b) not exceeding three lakh rupees in case of grievous injury; and
(c) not exceeding one lakh rupees, in all other cases of injury:

Any person who imports any article of food which is in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules and regulations made thereunder, shall, in addition to any penalty to which he may be liable under the provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 and the Customs Act, 1962 be also liable under this Act and shall be proceeded against accordingly. Such article of food shall be destroyed or returned to the importer, if permitted by the competent authority under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 or the Customs Act, 1962, or any other Act, as the case may be.