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Complete disclosure of food article being veg or non-veg must, fundamental right impacted: HC

  • Published
    3rd Mar, 2022
Context

Recently Delhi high court directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to issue a fresh communication to all the authorities concerned stating the stating the obligation to make clear disclosure as to whether the food article is vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

About

Ruling of Delhi High Court

  • HC observed that since the right of a person under Article 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India is impacted by what is offered on a platter, it is fundamental that a full and complete disclosure of a food article being vegetarian or non-vegetarian is made a part of consumer awareness.
  • The manufacturers must disclose the full and complete list of all ingredients that goes into the making of any food article.
  • It directed the FSSAI to issue a fresh communication to the authorities concerned to state the obligation for making a clear disclosure of food article as to whether it was vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
  • The HC observed that some food business operators are taking advantage of a clause in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations which exempts manufacturers from making a declaration about the compound ingredients in any food article, if it constitutes less than 5% of the food.
  • The use of non-vegetarian ingredients, even in a miniscule amount, in food articles would render them non-vegetarian, which would offend the religious and cultural sentiments of strict vegetarians.
  • The failure of the authorities, Central Government and FSSAI, in checking the lapses is not only leading to non-compliance of the FSS Act, 2006 and the Regulations but is also leading to "deceit by such Food Business Operators of the public at large, particularly those who wish to profess strict vegetarianism”.

About FSSAI:

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.
  • FSS Act, 2006 consolidates various acts & orders that had earlier handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments, such as-
    • Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
    • Fruit Products Order, 1955
    • Meat Food Products Order, 1973
    • Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
    • Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order 1988
    • Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
    • These were repealed after commencement of FSS Act, 2006.
  • FSSAI was consequently established in 2008 but work within the Food Authority effectively began in 2011 after its Rules and key Regulations were notified.

About FSSAI Legislative Framework:

  • Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 established FSSAI and the State Food Safety Authorities for each State.
  • Food Safety and Standards Rule, 2011:
  • The Food Safety Appellate Tribunaland the Registrar of the Appellate Tribunal, for adjudication of food safety cases.

About Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011:

  • It covers Licensing and Registration, Packaging and Labelling of Food Businesses, Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulation.
  • It prohibits and restricts on sales or approval for Non-Specified Food and Food Ingredients, such ingredients may cause harm to human health.
  • It provides for Food Safety and Standards on Organic Food Regulates Food Advertising.

Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods:

  • The Name of Food
  • List of Ingredients
  • Nutritional information
  • Declaration regarding Veg or Non veg
  • Declaration regarding Food Additives
  • Name and complete address of the manufacturer
  • Net quantity
  • Lot/Code/Batch identification
  • Date of manufacture or packing.
  • Best Before and Use By Date
  • Country of origin for imported food
  • Instructions for use
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