Traders involved in food and allied business are happy after the Union government extended the date for obtaining license under the Food Safety and Standard Regulations, 2011, upto May 2016.
Food business is largely carried out in an unorganized sector in the country. As per the Act, no person will commence or carry on any food business except under a licence from the designated departments, in this case the Health Department.
Deadline extension under food safety and standards act
The deadline for getting registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act has been postponed several times. This time, too, strong lobbying by trading community bore fruit.
Earlier, several meetings of officials with trader bodies to encourage them to get registered under the Act and obtain licences failed to elicit much response.
Registration under the Act is mandatory for all establishments involved in preparation, processing, manufacturing, sale and packaging of food items. Non-compliance with the Act will invite legal action in the form of six months imprisonment and a fine to up to Rs 5 lakhs.
Prevention of food adulteration
It is pertinent to mention here that the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, was replaced with the Food Standard and Safety Act in August, 2011. As per the new Act, severe fiscal penalties are to be levied on those involved in adulteration. For instance, the penalty for adulteration of milk with water ranges from Rs25,000 to Rs2 lakh. Detection of ingredients injurious to health could land an offender in jail for life, besides levying of penalty up to Rs 10 lakhs.
Officials of the Health Department said, “Data about the exact number of total shops in the city is not yet available as the registration under the new Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is still going on.”
While welcoming the deferment of registration, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) president Amrit lal Jain said the Act was copied from developed countries and implemented in entirety without considering the Indian conditions. He said there was an urgent need to make the Act suitable as per the country’s requirements. “For instance, we do not have enough laboratories. So it requires longer time to carry out tests,” he added.
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Source: The Tribune