Food Act amendment to raise fine against wrongdoers↵Department of Food Technology and Quality Control is considering amendment to the existing Food Act which envisages raising the cash penalty against businesses involved in malpractices by up to 20 times.
Department of Food Technology and Quality Control is considering amendment to the existing Food Act which envisages raising the cash penalty against businesses involved in malpractices by up to 20 times.
The penalty currently ranges from Rs1,000 to Rs100,000 based on the nature of the misconduct.
The existing Food Act 1967 has divided the misconduct under four categories: Selling contaminated food; selling sub-standard products; running business without
obtaining licenses; compensation payment.
Under the first three categories, the cash penalty ranges from Rs1,000 to Rs10,000 and a jail term of up to a year.
Under the compensation category, the fine ranges from Rs25,000 to Rs100,000. The jail term in such cases is up to three years.
Sanjeev Kumar Karna, director general at the department, said the amendments to the Act is aimed at discouraging wrongdoings in the food business.
“With the changing context, we need to amend the Act and the penalty provision,” said Karna speaking at a programme here on Thursday.
He, however, said the department has not proposed revising the jail term.
The department is also planning to enforce “system certification” in the food regulation. Once it is enforced, it will force the producers of edible items to implement good manufacturing practice.
Karna said the system certification would track the entire supply chain rather than just maintaining standard in food production.
“We aim to implement the provision especially at big companies and producers of edibles that pose instant risks such as milk and drinking water,” said Karna, adding the department would offer an “exemption period” for the industries to implement good manufacturing practice.
The proposed amendment will also incorporate alcoholic products in the Act.
Karna said they have also planned to regulate vendors of food products. Currently, most of such businesses have been running without acquiring permission from government authorities.
59 businesses face music
Department of Food Technology and Quality Control filed 59 cases against food businesses during the period between mid-November and mid-March period for their involvement in wrongdoings. Most of the businesses were related to edible oil, milk, bottled water, beverages, packed food and fast food items. According to the department, 24 out of the 59 cases have been forwarded to district courts. As of the first eight months of the fiscal year, the department took action against 110 firms for their involvement in market anomalies.