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The Food Safety and Standards Act passed by Parliament in 2006 will come into force in the next three-four months. Among other things, it will regulate food safety standards and usher in uniform licensing in the country
The new anti-adulteration law makes food adulteration an offence punishable with life imprisonment and manufacturers can be fined up to Rs10 lakh, health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said, reports PTI.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said that the Food Safety and Standards Act passed by Parliament in 2006 will come into force in the next three-four months.
The Act integrates multiplicity of provisions under various food-related laws. It will, among other things, regulate food safety standards and uniform licensing in the country.
Of the 101 Sections in the Act, so far 43 have been notified and the rest will be notified shortly, he said.
The delay, he said, was mainly because several subjects were not under the health ministry and had to be brought under a common ambit.
Employees under various departments had to be transferred to the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India that has been established under the Act.
The new Act provides for penalty on manufacturers of adulterated food items including fine of Rs1 lakh to Rs10 lakh to be adjudicated by an officer of the rank of sub-divisional magistrate. Earlier, the fine was to be decided by the court, which will now decide on imprisonment.
Adulterers face (a sentence of) six months to life imprisonment, the minister said.
“The new Act aims to ensure safe, hygienic and wholesome food for the citizens of the country. It also bestows responsibility on food manufacturers and traders to manufacture and supply safe, hygienic and wholesome food,” he said.
It also provides provisions regarding food recall procedures and improvement notices. Adjudication processes have also been introduced for speedy disposal of cases under the new Act, he added.
“I agree that the speed at which State governments should have been taking the lead (in controlling adulteration) is not happening,” he said, adding only 7.21% of samples collected by States during the past three years have been found adulterated.