Shops and vendors dealing in adulterated food products should get ready to face the music. As per a set of amendments proposed by the Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) in its 2006 food safety and standards law, individuals or businesses adulterating edibles could serve life imprisonment and penalty of up to INR 10 lakh.
The FSSAI has issued the draft amendments to the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, which was passed in 2006 but the regulations were notified only in 2011, reports The Tribune. This new directive comes after a Supreme Court order that seeks to put an end to food adulteration and impose strict punishment against defaulters.
According to FSSAI, if any person “adds an adulterant to food so as to render it injurious for human consumption with an inherent potential to cause his death or is likely to cause grievous hurt, irrespective of the fact whether it causes actual injury or not, shall be punishable for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and also fine which shall not be less than Rs 10 lakh”.
Furthermore, in cases of food adulteration, the malefactor must also bear all the expenses linked to the analysis of any food or food contact article that led to the conviction while also paying up the entire cost borne by the prosecution in the process. This amendment falls in line with Singapore’s Sale of Food Act.
In addition to penalizing anyone who indulges in food adulteration, FSSAI has also suggested harsher disciplinary actions against individuals obstructing, impersonating, intimidating and threatening, and assaulting a food safety officer. The recommended penalty for such offenses includes imprisonment of not less than 6 months and up to two years and a fine of up to INR 5 lakh. Currently, the punishment is imprisonment up to only three months while the fine is up to INR 1 lakh.
One other amendment on the list is overseeing exported food products under the FSS Act. At present, the act is responsible for only the sale of local and imported food items in the domestic market.