BANGALORE: In an interactive session with the members of APMCs and Federation of Karnataka’s Chambers of Industry and Commerce (FKCCI), Dr Srinivasa Gowda, joint director, Public Health Institute, discussed various aspects of the Food Safety and Security (FSS) Act and stated that suggestions from stakeholders were still welcome till March.
The Act replaces seven different Acts some of which are as old as 60 years. It is a consolidation of various different regulations and will oversee the manufacture, storage, distribution and import of food items.
“The draft has been prepared after taking the views of everyone involved. It will be implemented after careful deliberations with all states,” said Dr Gowda.
Explaining features of the new Act, Dr Gowda said that everyone in the chain from the manufacturer to sellers and distributors would have to maintain records of each batch of products which would then have to be recalled in case adulteration is detected.
“The Food Safety Commissioner’s post will be the nodal head for each state for implementation of this Act. The Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare is the designated head for Karnataka,” Dr Srinivasa Gowda said.
For Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), 24 Food Safety Officers posts have been sought from the state government. The BBMP currently has only five posts of Food Safety Officers.
Small Vendors Obligated to Follow
Replying to a point raised by FKCCI that the Act would include even small vendors like vegetable cart pushers or kulfiwallas who travel continuously, Dr Gowda said that while imposition of restrictions on such sellers cannot be imposed, they would still be obligated to follow the rules.
Provision of sub-standard food could attract penalties of up to `5 lakh and adulteration with material injurious to health a fine of up to 10 lakh. “There are separate provisions for milk and meat products in the act,” said Dr Gowda.