India to enforce law on food quality soon

Agartala, July 13 (IANS) India will soon enforce a tough law to maintain standards and quality of food and water as 80 percent of all deaths in the country are believed to be linked to unhealthy food and water, an official said here Tuesday.

‘Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which consolidates various acts and orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various union ministries and departments, would be enforced soon,’ Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Deputy Director M.S. Karak said while addressing an awareness programme on food safety and quality.

Quoting the Public Health Foundation of India, he said: ‘It was estimated that 80 percent of all premature deaths are attributed to unhealthy food and water.’

‘After enforcement of the new act, eight regulations currently in operation will be automatically repealed,’ he said.

Karak said that various central acts like the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, the Fruit Products Order, 1955, the Meat Food Products Order, 1973, the Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947, the Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998 and the Milk and Milk Product Order, 1992 will be repealed after the enforcement of the FSS Act, 2006.

According to Karak, necessary rules and regulations of the new law are being formulated before its enforcement. The law will govern the entire food business and food-related issues in India.

In accordance with the new law, the FSSAI was constituted in 2008 under the union health and family welfare ministry. Food safety commissioners will also be appointed in every state.

The one-day awareness programme, second of its kind in India, was jointly organised by the union ministry of food processing industries, the Quality Council of India (QCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Choudhury inaugurated the day-long awareness programme, attended by officials and people associated with the food industries.

QCI director Anil Jauhri said: ‘Food safety is a worldwide concern and India wants to enforce more vigorous testing of foods, their ingredients and raw materials, good manufacturing and hygienic practices in the food industry and business.’

Director, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Captain Sanjay Gahlot said that the ministry has been providing financial assistance to both state governments and private organisations to set up testing laboratories across the country.

Gahlot said that little over 300 such laboratories are functional across the country.

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