Ensuring FOOD SAFETY
LAW IS GOOD BUT THOSE THAT IT CONCERNS MUST KNOW IT FIRST
FOOD SAFETY & STANDARDS ACT BY BASHIR A. SUFI
Food safety simply means our food be absolutely free from any contamination and fit for the human consumption. It is hygienic and nutritional food which permits the development and maintenance of good health, due to which we are able to take any mental job or physical task.
In order to provide safe and wholesome food to the countrymen, government of India made Food Safety Act 2006, rules 2011, regulations 2011, for the whole country including Jammu & Kashmir State. By virtue of this act some science based standards for the article of food were laid down. This act has enabled the central government to take under its control the food industry of the country.
Under this food safety act every food business retailer or manufacturer shall register with the licensing or registering authority. The food safety & standards act says that even petty manufacturer shall follow the basic hygiene and safety requirements provided by these regulations. The petty food business operators include small retailer, road side food venders, hawkers, stall holders, cottage industries relating to food business, meat/mutton/poultry business operators with the slaughtering capacity of two larger animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day. Small catering units, snack bars, eating houses, dhabba walaas and all other tiny food venders with an annual turnover not exceeding Rs. 12 lakhs fall under the petty food business category. Though the above category of food business operators are exempted from licensing, but still required to register with the registering authority. They have to ensure the safe and wholesome food for human consumption. There sale points, tables, boxes, cupboards, glass cases, knives and other utensils shall be clean and tidy.
Any small vender who sells to the purchaser any article of food which is not in compliance with the provisions of the act or regulations made there under shall he liable to a penalty not less then three lakhs rupees with imprisonment.
All dairy units including milk chilling plants equipped to process more than 50,000 liters of milk per day, vegetable processing units having 2 MT processing capacity per day, slaughter houses equipped to slaughter more than 50 large animals or 150 or more small animals or 1000 or more poultry birds. All 100% export or import oriented food business operators & all food catering units and government agencies like railways, airport, seaport , defense etc. shall obtain their license from the central licensing authority.
The business operations with an annual turn over of above 12 lakh Rupees shall register themselves with state licensing authority under schedule 2 of regulations 2011.They shall follow the basic requirements as prescribed by schedule 4 of the act. They shall provide a self attested declaration of adherence to the requirements as laid down under the Food Safety Act. If the designated officer is not impressed upon the food safety measures taken by the food business operator and has enough reasonable grounds for establishing that the F.B.O has failed to comply with the regulations, he may serve an improvement notice to F.B.O. The food safety officer shall also specify the measures which in his opinion the F.B.O must take in order to secure compliance, In case the F.B.O fails to act in accordance with the improvement notice within specific period, his license may be cancelled or suspended. The Food Safety and Standard Act says that food business manufacture has to ensure his premises free from the growth of mould, fungi and infection. The workers for preparation of various food articles shall put clean aprons, hand gloves, head wears etc. They shall keep their nails trimmed, clean and wash their hands with soap and detergent before commencing their work. The food handlers should avoid scratching of body parts or hair during food handling process. Persons suffering from infectious diseases shall not be permitted to work. The vessels, containers or other equipments which may cause metallic contamination should be discarded. The manufacturer or packer of an article of food shall be liable for penalty for such an article of food, if it does not meet the requirement of the Act & the Rules and Regulations made there under.
Any person or food business operator except persons exempted from licensing under Sub section(2) of section 31 of this Act who is required to obtain license-sells, manufactures, stores or distributes any article of food without a proper license, shall be liable for a imprisonment which may extend to six months and also a fine extendible to five lakh Rupees.
All the raw material, food additives and ingredients whereever applicable shall confirm to all regulations and safety standards laid under the Act. Raw food particularly meat, poultry, and sea food products shall be cold stored separately from the area of processed and cooked products. In order to avoid the risk of cross contamination during the transportation, food containers and conveyances shall be marked for food use only. The transporters who are engaged with the food transporting trade shall also get the license from the licensing authority after fulfilling the requirements as laid down by the Food Safety Act 2006, Rules 2011 and Regulations2011.
The basic aim of the Food Safety and Standards Act, Rules and Regulations is to provide contamination free food to the countrymen. But the drawback of this Act is that for food business operators and manufacturers it is very complicated, confusing and complex. The State Regulatory Authority of Food Safety Act, has maintained a meaningful silence over the most important act of the country. The poor food business operators like street venders, hawkers, dabba wal’s, bakers, meat/mutton/poultry dealers & others need to be educated and enlightened on the subject. They need to be further educated on the subjects like personal hygiene, storing, handling, packing, batch coding and transporting of food article. Near about 70% of the F.B.O. have no knowledge about book-keeping, accountancy & other aspects of trading accounts due to the lack and in absence of such knowledge they shall be easily exploited by the regulatory babu’s. These babu’s shall become the second god for the poor food operators. They have created a situation that without greasing their palms the survival of F.B.O. shall not be possible. It is astonishing that Food Safety and Standards Act Authority of Jammu &Kashmir never felt it necessary to launch any awareness campaign by way of holding and conducting seminars and workshops in this regard.
In my opinion it is high time for the Jammu & Kashmir Govt. in particular and the concerned agencies in general to educate the F.B.O. before enforcing this Act, that will be a great service to the nation.
Author is president Kashmir Bakers Accusations
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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