‘Mandatory warning won’t make alcohol unsafe’

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has come out with the draft norms amid safety concerns over Maggi recall.

Details of the proposals:

  • FSSAI has proposed that alcoholic beverages, pan masala and supari need not be treated as unsafe food for recall just because they carry the mandatory warning that their consumption is injurious to health. It said the mandatory warning ‘consumption of alcohol/pan masala/supari is injurious to health’ may not make them liable for recall, “unless the beverage or food is determined unsafe as per the classification of recall making it injurious to health or even causing death.”
  • FSSAI has proposed regulations for recall process with the objective to guide the food business operators on how to carry out a recall process. ‘Food under recall’ means the specific lot or batch or code number of food item, which has been determined by the food authority or food safety commissioners of States/UTs as unsafe food causing injury or liable to cause injury to health or even death.
  • FSSAI has said that the primary responsibility of recalling the unsafe food lies with the manufacturer, importer or company engaged in wholesale supply or the brand owner of the food product. A food business operator engaged in the manufacturing, importation and wholesale supply of food shall initiate a recall process at any time to fulfil its responsibility to protect public health from food that is unsafe for the consumer.
  • In case of a recall, the food business operator also need to submit the plan for that unsafe product. A recall plan must be available in writing and shall be made available to the Food Authority or the commissioner of Food Safety of the State/UT, as the case may be, on request.
  • The food business operator shall comply with the plan it has developed when it recalls food and the recall plan shall be integrated into his business. It shall also be part of the annual audit of the food business.

About FSSAI:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.

  • It was created 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.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
  • The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are appointed by Government of India.
  • The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

Important functions performed by the authority:

  • Framing of Regulations to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
  • Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
  • Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
  • To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition .
  • Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
  • Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
  • Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.

Sources: The Hindu, BS, FSSAI.

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