Food Safety Regulations in India and Role of the FSSAI

Health

In India Food Regulations have been formulated under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is its regulatory body. The food regulationshave been formulated to enable the food industry to make available safe and wholesome food fit for human consumption.

Food Standards

FSSAI has the responsibility to formulate science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import.On a broad basis there are two categories of foods,standardised foods and non-standardised foods. For standardised foods there are food safety standards, however, they differ from one food article to another and the standards are created keeping in mind the food type. Non-standardized foods are those foods for which there are no standards as yet,as their safety parameters are either not known or not yet ascertained. Non-standardised foods require product approval from the FSSAI if they do not fall into the list of standardised food category. As the Apex Food Authority it is the responsibility of the FSSAI to formulate food standards in such a manner that food is free of toxins and other hazardous content that can lead to foodborne and waterborne diseases.

Other regulations

The Food Regulations are not just restricted to standards but also compromise labelling and packaging regulations which includes mandatory nutritional information also regulations on food import, food recall, and restrictions on sale of certain food items. FSSAI has also formulated new regulations regarding Approval for non-specified food and food ingredients, organic foods and nutraceutical foods and health supplements. In fact the FSSAI has extended its reach to include food fortification as a large population in India suffers from micronutrient deficiency. Under food regulations it is mandatory for all Food Business Operators, manufacturers, importers, distributers, wholesalers, retailers, hotels, restaurants, eateries, cafeterias, hostel messes, as well as petty food businesses to have an FSSAI registration/ license.

Compliance

FSSAI plays the important role of not only formulating food regulations but ensuring their compliance.So it also focuseson creating a regulatory environment that the food industry can adopt and comply with so as to protect public health. The FSSAI is empowered to audit, check and test foods and inspect premises of FBOs and these measures develop the right culture of food safety and quality across India. FSSAI also implements certain measures that help to prevent malpractices like food fraud, adulteration and even misleading claims and advertisements that can affect consumers.

International standards

The food safety regulations implemented by the FSSAI are based on the guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius. The Codex represents the international standards that have been formed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Since the FSSAI regulations are framed on the international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice of the Codex Alimentarius, so the Indian food regulations contribute to the quality and safety of food that reaches consumers and they adhere to the international standards.

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