Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Who wants controls any way on what is going on uncontrolled or ill-controlled for ages? Naturally it is the human tendency to do things with as much secrecy as possible, especially when they are not done properly. The food industry world over are under a siege unable to convince the consumers regarding their sincerity and honesty and invariably controls and regulations need to be put in place to protect the welfare of the citizens. Latest "unhappiness" on the part of the food industry in India comes from a feeble attempt being made by the FSSAI, the apex body supposed to ensure consumer safety to tighten the labeling rules for imported foods to make them more transparent. Here is a take on this new irritant between the enforcers and the industry.

"As for FSSAI, going by its website, under the new norms, the body has specified for 'Date of Manufacture' to be given in date, month and year format on sticker in addition to the 'Date of Manufacture' in Julian format already present in the labels along with the rectifiable labelling requirements viz. name and address of the importer and vegetarian, non-vegetarian logo. As for batch number, the body specifies, "Consignments without prefix such as Lot number/ Lot/Code/Number Code/Batch Number/Batch or any other distinguishing prefix as per FSSR, 2011, shall be accepted subject to the condition that the authorised officer, FSSAI, will verify from the relevant documents from the manufacturer/exporter of the source country and satisfy himself that the numbers/alphabets combination of numbers/alphabets present in the labels are a valid batch number/lot number/code number of that particular consignment." While FSSAI has given three months time beginning December 15, 2011, for food importers to get the minor labelling defects rectified, food importers are not happy with the whole procedure".  

India has become a breeding ground for adulterated, sub-standard and unsafe foods with the state infrastructure for enforcing national standards for various foods in a pathetic condition. Recent revelations that many established "Made in India" brands of foods, being "Faked in China" are flooding the markets in many countries including in some of the border states within the country is shocking and humiliating, reflecting the "toothless" nature of Indian food laws. Added to this a survey of milk in Delhi market by the very same FSSAI which has shown that more than 70% of milk samples tested were sub-standard though it was not determined whether they were also unsafe. Imported foods from where ever they are coming must have regulatory standards on par with India made counterparts and the importers have no business to cringe on this issue. No self respecting government can shirk its responsibility to wards its citizens by diluting the standards to satisfy the industry.


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