To begin with, what is Food Safety and Standards Act?
‘An Act to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.’
It is an Act meant for a smooth functioning of food businesses, markets and ensure food safety. But what happens if the very law made to protect you, turns the table?
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry today expressed serious concern over the “raids and inspections being carried out and disproportionate penalty slapped in the name of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act.”
President, KCCI, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said the chamber is dismayed at the manner in which the authorities concerned were implementing the FSS Act.
“A sort of panic is being created in the food industry by the uncalled for raids and inspections and disproportionate penalty slapped in the name of FSS Act,” he said.
“The FSS Act is in the interest of the general public but at the same time it is prone to abuse by the authorities vested with the power to implement it,” Wani said.
“Top international companies have been unable to cope with the demands of the Food Authority of India. This has led to a decline in import of food products and heavy litigation. This situation has prompted the Central Government to set up a task force for helping the companies to cope with the prevailing environment,” Wani said.
He said that complaints regarding coercive methods being adopted by the authorities are being reported. “In Kashmir, reports of harassment and high handedness, imposition of heavy penalties, among other things are causing a fear psychosis amongst the business community as also the suppliers from outside the State,” he said.
“The manufacturers and traders from outside are hesitant in doing business in the state,” he said.
It is important and mandatory to follow the rules laid down by the FSSAI authorities by the concerned people. But it is equally important for the people on the other side of the law to take note of the same.
Source: Greater Kashmir