The Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi- level, multi-departmental control to a single line of command. The Act established FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and the State Food Safety Authorities for each State.
In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 91 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the Central Government has notified the Food Safety and Standards (First Amendment) Rules, 2022, to further amend Food Safety and Standards Rules 2011.
FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS (FIRST AMENDMENT) RULES, 2022
The Food Safety and Standards (First Amendment) Rules, 2022 has been notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and has taken effect from 20th January 2023.
Additional qualification of Designated Officer:
In sub rule 2.1.2 which talks about “Designated Officer” under which clause 1 talks about ‘Qualifications and Duties’ of the Designated Officer, has been substituted wherein additional educational requirements have been added:
- A Bachelor’s or master’s or Doctorate degree in Science with chemistry as one of the subjects or at least one of the educational qualifications prescribed for the Food Safety Officers under these rules, or
- He should possess not less than five years of experience as a Food Safety Officer or not less than seven years combined experience as a Food Safety Officer and food Inspector, of which a minimum of four years as a Food Safety Officer after commencement of the Food Safety and Standards Act.
Powers and Duties of Food Safety Officer
In sub rule 2.1.3 which talks about “Food Safety Officer” under which clause 4 talks about powers and duties of the “Food Safety Officer”, clause (dd) has been inserted which deals with the powers and duties of the food safety officer.
- It states that the examination of labels of articles of food will be sent for analysis in accordance with the requirement of labelling, advertising and claims as specified in the regulations made under the Food Safety and Standards Act.
- The report of non-compliance is required to be sent to Designated Officer for scrutiny if it isn’t up to mark.
Qualifications of Food Analyst
Sub- rule 2.1.4 has also been substituted which deals with the Food Analyst and his qualifications.
- Earlier, only the holders of master’s degree were allowed but now a bachelor or a doctorate holding a degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry or Microbiology or Dairy Chemistry or Agriculture Science or Animal Science or Fisheries Science or Biotechnology or Food Safety or Food Technology, Food and Nutrition or Dairy Technology or Oil Technology or Veterinary Sciences are allowed to hold such positions.
Sampling and Analysis
In Rule 2.4 which deals in Sampling and Analysis, Clause 7 (a) has been inserted which directs to mask all information relating to Food Business Operator in the label of the sample, including brand or trade name and bar code suitably and provide a code number.
Under the heading “Sampling and Analysis” a new provision has been inserted stating that in case of samples to be drawn for microbiological analysis, surveillance, import clearance, investigation of complaint and food safety emergency response, the requirement of four parts of samples shall not apply, and following requirements for the number of samples should be followed:
- For microbiological analysis: Appendix B of Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
- Surveillance: As per the surveillance plan by the Food Authority or State Food Authority
- Import clearance: As per Food Safety and Standards (Food import) Regulation, 2017
- Food safety emergency incidents: Less than the mandated number of parts of the sample subject to reasons along with the evidence to be recorded in writing.
- Any other cases: Less than the mandated number of parts of the sample subject to reasons along with the evidence to be recorded in writing.
Analysis by Referral Laboratory
- According to a new insertion in sub rule 2.4.6 relating to Appeal to the Designated Officer, under clause 3, the certificate of analysis in Form XI has to be duly signed by the Director of the Referral Laboratory and it should be forwarded within fourteen days of receipt of the sample.
- In case the Referral Laboratory is unable to analyse the sample within fourteen days of its receipt, the Referral Laboratory will have to inform the Designated Officer and the Commissioner of Food Safety giving reasons and specifying the time to be taken for analysis.
With the introduction of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and further rules and regulations such as the amendment rules of 2020, there has been a shift from a multi-level to a single line of control with focus on self-compliance rather than a pure regulatory regime.