Food Adulteration –Rules and Regulations
The Government of India is fully aware to the possibilities of food being adulterated. It has therefore, empowered several agencies and promulgated a number of acts and orders to contract the menace. Agencies and institutions have also been created to lay down standards for the quality of foods. The manner in which the food is processed and packaged is also covered by a number of regulations. Following measures have been taken by the government to control the quality of food.
Laws governing the food industry
Some of the food laws have been mentioned below:
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSSA)
- Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Fruit Products Order, 1955 (FPO)
- Meat Food Products Order, 1973 (MFPO)
- Milk and Milk Product Order, 1992 (MMPO)
- Solvent Extracted Oil, De-oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
- Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976
- The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- The Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963
- The Insecticides Act, 1968
- Vegetables Oil Products (Control) Order, 1998
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act & Rules (PFA Act), 1954
A few of the Food Laws which can be declared voluntarily by the manufacturers of finished products are as follows:
- Agmark Standards (AGMARK),
- Codex Alimentarius Standards,
- BIS Standards and Specifications,
Prevention of food adulteration Act (1954)
One of the early acts to be promulgated in this connection was the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954, which has been in force since June 1,1955. The objective of this act was to ensure that food articles sold to the customers are pure and wholesome. PFA also intended to prevent fraud or deception and encourages fair trade practices. The act was amended in 1964 and again in 1976 in the light of experience gained, to plug loopholes of escape in the Act and to insure stringent punishment for those indulging in this nefarious practice.
The Act prohibits the manufacture, sale and distribution of not only adulterated foods but also foods contaminated with toxicants and misbranded foods. A Central Food Laboratory located at Calcutta and the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore has also been recognized for testing of adulterated foods. “A central committee for food standards” has been constituted under the Act and has been charged with the function of advising the Central Government on matters relating to the Food standards.
According to the Act, an article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated.
- If the article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser and as it is represented to be.
- If it contains any other substance or processed as to affect injuriously the nature.
- If any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in part for the article.
- If the article had been prepared, packed or kept under unsanitary conditions whereby it has become contaminated or injurious to health;
- If the article consists of any filthy, putrid, disgusting, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable substance or is insect-infested or otherwise unit for human consumption.
- If the article is obtained from a diseased animal;
- If the article contains any poisonous or other ingredient which renders its contents injurious to health;
- If the container of the article is composed of any poisonous or deleterious substance which renders it contents injurious to health;
- If any colouring matter other than as prescribed and in amounts not within the prescribed limits of variability is present in the article;
- If the article contains any prohibited preservative or permitted preservative in excess of the prescribed limits;
If the quality or purity of the article falls below the prescribed standard or its constituents are present in quantities, which are in excess of the prescribed limits of variability.
Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
In India the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) is the apex food regulator. It is empowered by and functions under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The FSSAI implements and enforces food regulations as prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).
The act brought into force in place of the PFA is the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as “FSSA“) that overrides all other food related laws. It specifically repealed eight laws which were in operation prior to the enforcement of FSSA:
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- The Fruit Products Order, 1955
- The Meat Food Products Order, 1973
- The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
- The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
- The Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
- The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
- Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (in relation to food)
Some of the key functions of the FSSAI include:
- framing of regulations to lay down food safety standards;
- laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for food testing,
- providing scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government,
- contributing to the development of international technical standards in food;
- collecting and collating data regarding food consumption, contamination, emerging risks etc
- disseminating information and promoting awareness about food safety in India
Standardization is a method by which quality control can be maintained. This is done to maintain the minimum standard necessary for foodstuffs. Standard is something that is set up and established by authority for ensuring quantity, weight, extent, value of quality.
In India, we have mostly two types of standards, which govern the sale of foods including milk and milk products. These are: Legal standards and Quality standards.
Legal standard means the specifications or the requirements which pertain to the law of the Govt. and are set up by the Govt. to meet certain minimum requirements in terms of chemical quality (i.e. composition), bacteriological quality (i.e. hygienic quality), and labeling and packaging requirements.
Quality standards means those specifications which are laid down by the Govt or some expert body constituted by the Govt. for the purpose of producing high quality products.
While legal standards are compulsory, the quality standards are not compulsory. They are on voluntary basis.
Foods Standards in India :
In our country, we have two types of quality standards
- ISI standards
- Agmark standards
Indian Standard Institution was established in 1947. The ISI is the national standards organisation for India, responsible for laying down standards in consultation with, and with the active participation of experts drawn from manufacturing units, research and technical institutions and laboratories, purchase organisations and other parties involved. Following are the objectives of Indian standards Institution:
- To formulate standards for commodities, products, materials and processes.
- To encourage their adoption at National and International level.
- Certification of Industrial Products.
- Help in production of Standard Products.
- Distribution of information regarding standardisation.
The Indian Standards are available for vegetable and fruit products, spices, condiments, animal products and various processed foods.
List of I.S.I. Certified Food Products
- Edible common salt
- Custard Powder
- Baking powder
- Cocoa powder
- Milk powder
- Condensed Milk
- Baker’s yeast
- Infant Milk Food
- Vermicelli, Macroni and Sphagetti
- Coffee Powder
- Ice Cream
- Egg Powder
- Drinking chocolate
- Rum, Beer, Gin, Whisky, Brandy
List of some domestic Electrical equipments with I.S.I. Mark
- Electric Iron
- Electric Fan and Regulator
3. Electric Kettle and Jug
- Electric Hot Plate
- Domestic Food Mixers
- Pressure Cookers (Non Electric)
- Gas Stove
The AGMARK Standard
The AGMARK standard was set up by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection of the Government of India by introducing an Agricultural produce Act in 1937. The word ‘AGMARK’ seal ensures quality and purity. A sample AGMARK seal is as below
PLACE OF PACKAGING…….
DATE OF PACKAGING……
The quality of a product is determined with reference to the size, variety, weight, colour, moisture, fat content and other factors are taken into account. The grades incorporated are grades 1,2,3 and 4 or special, good, fair and ordinary.
List of Ag Mark certified Food Products :
- Edible Oil
- Ground spices
- Wheat Flour