FSSAI Penalty Structure: an Overview
Food Security and Standards Act, 2006 lead to the establishment of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (referred to FSSAI thereafter). The Act consolidates laws regarding manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food articles to ensure its safe availability to all the customers. Here Food Safety is referred in terms of assurance of food acceptable for human consumption. The enforcement of food safety laws in India is the responsibility of the Food Authority and the State Food Safety Authority. A person shall commence any food business only after the possession of FSSAI licenses. In case the food business operator fails to comply with the regulations under FSSA, an improvement notice will be issued to him. Further, failure to comply with the improvement notice, the license may be suspended.
A prohibition order is issued if any food business operator is convicted of an offense under Food safety and standards act. Depending upon the health risks involved, the court may issue emergency prohibition or FSSAI penalty. A person may render food articles to health by following various operations related to the addition of any article or substance of food, abstracting constituents of food, and subjecting to any other process and treatment. In case of offense, FSSAI levies certain penalties on food establishment; be it a private or public entity. FSSAI penalty structure is uniform for all of them.
A company commits an offense under the ambit of the FSS Act: all persons responsible for the company and those present at the time of the offense is committed are held guilty along with the company.
In case companies have many branches across the country: the person head of the department is held responsible to ensure food safety and standards.
If the company has committed an offense that has been proved beyond doubt: the manager, director or any other appointed officer of the company is held responsible.
In all the above cases, the guilty person committing the offense has to face proceedings and the FSSAI punishments accordingly.
Here is a list of FSSAI penalties for a food business that has been applied under the Act:
If a food business operator operates a food establishment without acquiring an FSSAI license, the act is punishable under law. The food business operator may face imprisonment and FSSAI license penalty up to rupees 5 lakhs for the same.
If a person or a company is selling the substandard quality of food articles, the food business operator may be charged for an amount up to rupees 5 lakhs. In this case, any person selling substandard goods, either himself or by a person who works on his behalf are held accountable.
Any person selling misbranded goods, either himself or by a person who works on his behalf, is held liable to the penalty up to 3 lakhs.
If a person selling, storing, distributing or importing food articles for human consumption, either himself or by a person is found with the superfluous or extraneous matter, the FSSAI penalty for such food businesses is up to rupees 1 lakh.
If a person, either himself or by a person who works on his behalf manufactures or processes food articles meant for human consumption under unsanitary, unhygienic, and unsafe conditions shall be held liable for a penalty of rupees 1 lakh. The circumstances here may vary. In extreme cases, a consumer may die to consume low-quality food. Compensations are issued up to 5 lakhs depending upon the intensity of the harm or injury by the unsafe food articles.
A FSSAI license is the first and foremost important license for operation of the food establishment. Equally essential is to renew the FSSAI license timely. The validity of the FSSAI license is 1 to 5 years, depending upon the choice of the food operator. Also, FSSAI license renewal is possible. The cost of obtaining the license increases with the number of years applied. It takes approximately 60 days for issue of the food license. Basic documents required for the same is latest passport sized photographs of the applicant, identification proof, PAN card, address proof, a copy of Property papers, and a copy of the rental agreement. If FSSAI license is not renewed in time, penalties are charged to the food business operator, rupees 100 per day after the date of expiry is the penalty which will be taken from the food business operator.
Any person who indulges in the import of food articles, for food articles which are a contravention of the provisions of this Act, is also liable under the penalty structure issued by FSSAI. In case of offense, proceedings shall be made accordingly. Any food article shall be destroyed or returned to the importer if permitted by the competent authority under the Foreign Trade Act, 1992 and the Customs Act 1962.
Various checks are conducted regularly by FSSAI and the food safety officer. If a person unreasonably resists or obstructs a food safety officer, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of almost 3 months and fine extending up to rupees one lakh
FSSAI has constructed stringent laws to ensure food safety and security in the country. It ensures that all food business operators operate under business ethics. Thereby, conducting business beneficial for society as well as personal interests. All such food establishments can benefit in the long run. Selling improper quality food article may be tempting from a financial perspective. However, it can lead to serious injury. In some worse cases, it has lead to a large-scale disease outbreak. Therefore, food establishments must follow commitments for food safety with the ambit of FSSAI offenses and penalties. Although the most businessman may not realize this, food safety has to be placed above all financial concerns. Twenty-first-century food establishments that are beginning in India try to breach the ethics of food industry, but the matters pertaining to public health and nutrition are taken upon much more seriously nowadays by food safety and standards authority of India along with the help of state wise food and drug administration departments.
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