Food Adulteration








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Introduction

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Food adulteration rate in India has almost doubled over the last 5 years according to data sourced from FSSAI annual reports. Food adulteration rate in India stood at 13% in 2011-12 which increased to 23% in 2016-17.Adulteration is a legal term meaning that a food product fails to meet the legal standards. One form of adulteration is an addition of another substance to a food item in order to increase the quantity of the food item in raw form or prepared form, which may result in the loss of actual quality of food item. It is the process in which the quality of food is lowered either by the addition of inferior quality material or by extraction of valuable ingredient. It not only includes the intentional addition or substitution of the substances but biological and chemical contamination during the period of growth, storage, processing, transport and distribution of the food products, is also responsible for the lowering or degradation of the quality of food products.

laws in force

Now coming to the laws that governs food adulteration in India we have:-
  • Indian Penal Code
  • Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  • Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011.

Recent Rullings of Court

Make milk adulteration punishable with life imprisonment: SC

The observation by an apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice A.K. Sikri came after taking note of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha having made the sale of adulterated milk, contaminated with synthetic material, an offence punishable with life imprisonment.

Delhi Kirana Shop Owner imprisoned under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act

The accused was running a small kirana shop in Delhi. Officials from the Food Adulteration Department, in 1993, detected salt as an adulterant in 450 gram of red chilli powder sample taken fromhis shop. A second test by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory also showed ash content and pointed towards adulteration

He has been sentenced to 3 months imprisonment under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 by a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice B.S. Chauhan

What to do If you get a notice of non-payment of Disputed Telephone Bill?

Regional offices of Telecom Regulatory Authority, are filled with such complaints. The dimensions of the problem can be calculated from the fact that the problem of excess billing even had its echo in the Parliament of the country. On 31st March, 1987 there was a complaint in the Parliament that even the Members of Parliament were subject to excess billing. It was alleged that when they were out of station their phone bills in Delhi went up.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India the FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India. FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety

FSSAI was established by Former Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Government of India on 5 September 2008 under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The FSSAI consists of a chairperson & 22 members. The FSSAI is responsible for setting standards for food so that there is one body to deal with and no confusion in the minds of consumers, traders, manufacturers, and investors. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The following are the statutory powers that the FSS Act, 2006 gives to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

  1. Framing of regulations to lay down food safety standards
  2. Laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for food testing
  3. Providing scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government
  4. Contributing to the development of international technical standards in food
  5. Collecting and collating data regarding food consumption, contamination, emerging risks etc.
  6. Disseminating information and promoting awareness about food safety and nutrition in India

Consumers can connect to FSSAI through various channels or call Toll free Number 1800112100. Recently an online platform called ‘Food Safety Voice’ has been launched which helps consumers to register their complaints and feedbacks about food safety issues related to adulterated food, unsafe food, substandard food, labeling defects in food and misleading claims & advertisements related to various food products. A GAMA portal for concerns regarding misleading claims and advertisements too is operated.

Punishment for Food Adulteration

Under section 272 of Indian Penal Code which says as under:-

“Whoever adulterates any article of food or drink, so as to make such article noxious as food or drink, intending to sell such article as food or drink, or knowing it to be likely that the same will be sold as food or drink, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”

But for the State of Uttar Pradesh and State of West Bengal it is punishable with life imprisonment

Under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 the penalty for selling misbranded or sub-standard food right now is between Rs 3 – 5 lakh. The punishment for unsafe food that has resulted in death is life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10 lakh and that for unsafe food resulting in grievous injury or death-like situation is an imprisonment of 6 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

The FSSAI regulations provide for various punishments to persons who do adulteration of food or food products as under:

Import, manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of any food article which is adulterated by allowing its quality or purity to fall below the prescribed standard, or is misbranded, or in contravention of any provision of the Act or Rules. The penalty for this offense is a minimum imprisonment of six months that may extend up to 3 years and a minimum fine of Rs 1000.

Import, manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of any adulterant not injurious to health. Penalty is minimum imprisonment of six months that may extend up to 3 years and minimum fine of Rs 1000.

Preventing a Food Inspector from taking a sample or exercising his Penalty is minimum imprisonment of six months that may extend up to 3 years and minimum fine of Rs 1000.

Giving a false warranty in writing in respect of any food article. Penalty is minimum imprisonment of six months that may extend up to 3 years and minimum fine of Rs 1000

Import, manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of any food article which is adulterated or any adulterant which is injurious to health is being used is punishable under Law. Penalty is minimum imprisonment of one year that may extend up to 6 years and minimum fine of Rs 2000

Sale or distribution of any food article containing any poisonous or other ingredients injurious to health, which is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm. Penalty is minimum imprisonment of three years that may extend up to life and minimum fine of Rs 5000.

Conclusion

Food Adulteration laws in India has become more and more stronger by passage of time we have seen a drastic change of position of India from where it was once a minor offence punishable with imprisonment for 3 month or fine only to life imprisonment as it affect society at large so it should be punished accordingly.