Health is wealth is the most common proverb used in day-to-day life. Physical, mental, and emotional well-being contributes to our overall development. To keep a body healthy, the food that is consumed should be safe and hygienic. But sometimes, it might be neglected. So, to ensure that the standards of the required quality are maintained, and the food that comes to our table is safe and hygienic, the Government of India has made a regulatory body for ensuring safe food is being provided to the consumer, i.e., FSSAI( Food safety and standards authority of India) under the Foods Safety and Standard Authority, 2006. The act mandates all the Food Business operations to obtain an FSSAI to run their business. The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 also provides a list of actions categorized as offenses and the punishments if such crimes are committed in various degrees. In this article, we will focus on the Punishable offenses under FSSAI.
Need to implement provisions for offenses under FSSAI
Punishments are required for proper implementation and to avoid misuse of freedom/power given to the people/industry concerned. If there is no penalty, then other provisions might be misused, and there will be no use in setting safety standards in the first case. To avoid these scenarios, FSSAI has provided categories of offenses and penalties.
The first and foremost rule for any food business in India is to obtain a license; without a license from FSSAI, a food business is not allowed to operate. If the person fails to get an FSSAI license and comply with the rules and regulations set by FSSAI, a penalty will be imposed, and the business might be suspended.
All the individuals participating directly/indirectly will come under the ambit of offenses and face the charges according to the degree of participation in the commission of the crime.
List of Punishable offenses under FSSAI
Following are the Punishable offenses under FSSAI :
- Selling/Manufacturing food of sub-standard quality.
- Misbranding of food product
- Misleading information and advertisement
- Unnecessary ingredients in the food Operation
- business without a license
- Failure to comply with Food Safety regulations and directions of the Food Safety officer
- Unhygienic conditions in the manufacturing or processing units
- Possession of Adulterant
- Any Contraventions
- Unsafe product
- Spreading false information
- Interference of seized items
- Obstruction or Impersonation of Food Safety Officer
- Punishment for subsequent offenses
- Contravention of provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act in case of import/ export of food products
Following are the cases which the food business has to compensate if it happens:
- Injury of a consumer because of consumption of the product by such business
- Death of a consumer because of consumption of the product by such business
Penalties under FSSAI
- Selling/Manufacturing food of sub-standard quality: Any business selling or manufacturing any food product either by themselves or any other person on behalf of the seller/manufacturer stores, distributes, manufactures any article of consumable food product which is of sub-standard quality will be penalized with an amount up to Rs 5 lakh rupees.
- Misbranding of food product: Any business selling or manufacturing any food product either by themselves or any other person on behalf of the seller/manufacturer for storage, selling, or distributing a food product found to be misbranded will be penalized with an amount up to Rs 3 lakhs. In case of such offenses, the adjudicating officer is authorized to direct the guilty person to take rectification measures.
- Misleading information and advertisement: Any individual/business who deceitfully describes a product, mislead the consumers about the quality of product or results of the product will be penalized with an amount up to Rs 10 lakh.
- Unnecessary ingredients in the food: Any food item sold, stored, is being distributed, containing extraneous elements will be penalized with up to Rs 1 lakh. The product should only have the required ingredients and correct composition.
- Operation of business without a license: Any food business operator, either directly or by someone on their behalf, who tries to run a business without a proper FSSAI license will be penalized with an amount up to Rs 5 lakh imprisoned for up to six months. Some business owners are exempted from the mandatory license requirements as per Subsection 2, section 31.
- Failure to comply with Food Safety regulations and directions of the Food Safety officer: If any food business operator fails to comply with the rules and regulations set by the FSSAI Act or the directions issued by such officer, without giving any reasonable ground for non-compliance, the business/ individual will be penalized with amount up to Rs 2 lakh
- Unhygienic conditions in the manufacturing or processing units: Any business either directly or indirectly manufactures or process the food in unhygienic conditions, a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh
- Possession of Adulterant: In case of possession of any adulterant ( in case injurious to health, the penalty will be up to Rs 10 lakh), directly or indirectly by the food business operator, the penalty will be up to Rs 2 lakh( in case the adulterant is not injurious to health).
- Any Contraventions: There is no prescribed penalty for this offense, but the penalty is generally up to an amount of Rs 2 lakh.
- Unsafe product: Any business either directly or indirectly uses unsafe food products, which results in:
- Death – imprisonment of not less than seven years + fine of up to Rs 10 lakhs will be imposed as a penalty.
- Grievous injury: Fine up to Rs 5 lakhs + 6 years of imprisonment as the penalty
- Injury: Imprisonment of 1 year + Fine up to Rs 3 lakh as penalty
- No injury: Imprisonment of six months+ Fine up to Rs 1 lakh will be imposed as a penalty.
- Spreading false information: An imprisonment of up to three months and a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh will be imposed on Any business either directly or indirectly spreading false information.
- Interference of seized items: Any individual/business if tries to retain, remove or tamper with the seized item will face imprisonment up to six months with a fine up to Rs 2 lakhs
- Obstruction or Impersonation of a Food Safety Officer without any reasonable excuse: In this case, the penalty is imprisonment up to three months and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
- Subsequent offenses: following are the penalties in this:
- Repeat Offender will be penalized with twice the penalty imposed the first time.
- The license may be canceled.
- If the offense is committed regularly, the penalty has to be routinely faced too.
- Compensation in case of injury or death of a consumer: In case of injuries, the penalty is up to Rs 1 lakh. In case of grievous injury, the penalty is up to Rs 3 lakh. In case of death, the penalty is not less than Rs 5 lakh.
Every individual has a right to good health, and every product for human consumption should be of the highest standard possible. The penalties and punishment are a great way to curb any irregularities possible. All the Punishable offenses under FSSAI attract heavy penalties to incentivize proper compliance.
Read our article:FSSAI License For Canteen: A Complete Guide