Who should consumers go to?
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established to ensure improved quality of food for consumers on the one hand, and to censure misleading claims and advertisement by those in the food business on the other hand. Among its mandates is the task of establishing a network of information and best practices in food safety. The authority is also expected to promote and issue guidelines for development of risk-assessment methodologies and forward messages on health and nutritional risks to the stakeholders. As consumers, then, we have the responsibility to be aware of, process and act upon all information that impacts the safety of the food that we consume.
Among other things, the FSSAI has to conduct surveys of enforcement and administration of the Food Safety and Standards Act in various parts of the country; and search, collect and analyse relevant information relating to food consumption and exposure of individuals risks, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various contaminants, etc. The FSSAI has the mandate of laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. The FSSAI has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which consolidates several Acts and Orders that have hitherto handled food-related issues in various ministries and departments. The various Acts consolidated therein include Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954; Fruit Products Order, 1955; Meat Food Products Order, 1973; Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947; Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1988; Solvent Extracted Oil, De-Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967; and Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992. The ministry of health & family welfare, Government of India, is the administrative ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.