While Nestlé sits back and licks its multi-crore ‘instant’ wound, AIFPA is determined to fight this till the last man standing.
What Is The All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA)?
The All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) is an industry body that counts among its members companies such as Haldiram, Bikaner and Mondelez, along with many small and medium-sized enterprises dealing in food items.
AIFPA Wants To Know!
All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) has questioned the legal standing of the process of food approval in the country, saying that the law does not have any such provision. “Product approval as such is not defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, nor is there any provision or procedure prescribed under the Act, rules or regulations,” said Amit Dhanuka, president of AIFPA.
Dhanuka said that the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) by just posting an advisory on its website and without making any rules or regulations under the Act, compelled food business operators to obtain approval for food products. It did not prescribe any standards for the approval, he said.
RK Bansal, retired director of Fruit Products Order of the ministry of food processing industries and a member of the committee that formulated the Food Safety and Standards Act, echoed AIFPA, saying, “An advisory cannot be treated as a regulation or law.”
Damage Done So Far
Recently, Hindustan Unilever and Indo Nissin Foods, maker of Top Ramen noodles, withdrew products from the market pending product approval from the food regulator. Leading food companies declined to comment on the matter. An email sent to FSSAI remained unanswered till late evening on Wednesday.
Law & Order
“The Bombay High Court, by a majority judgment, has nullified the judgement relating to product approval issued by the FSSAI as unlawful. The Supreme Court of India, however, reviewed its order dated August 13, 2014, stayed the operation of the disputed verdict of the Bombay High Court,” said a lawyer who works with the association.
Why Do We Need Product Approval?
B Sesikeran, former director of the National Institute of Nutrition and chairman of scientific panel on labelling at the FSSAI, said, “A complicated food approval process hampers the process of innovation of new products in the market. However, the viewpoint of the regulator would be that even if the ingredients are approved, the manufacturer could modify the quantity of these ingredients, which may not be safe for consumption.”
AIFPA has said that India could adopt procedures similar to those followed in the United States and the United Kingdom, where products made of already approved ingredients don’t need approvals. Yeah, and they approve their Maggi also!