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Government Plans To Do Away With Multiple Certification For Food Products

Context:

The Government plan to remove multiple certifications for food products and has approved various amendments to streamline food safety and standards regulations.

Relevance:

GS II- Governance, Facts for prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Streamlining food certification process
  2. About BIS
  3. FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India)

Streamlining food certification process:

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has approved various amendments to streamline food safety and standards regulations.
  • The amendments aimed to do away with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) or AGMARK certification for food products.
  • Once the amendments are finalised, food businesses would not have to go to different authorities for mandatory certification with only FSSAI certification being made mandatory for food products.
  • The Food Authority also approved a first-of-its-kind and comprehensive manual of methods of analysis for ensuring regulatory compliance of the food products.
  • The Food Authority is also going to set standards for ‘Haleem’ as part of standards for meat products.
    • Haleem is a dish made of meat, pulses, grains, and other ingredients, which currently don’t have any set standards.

About BIS

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards is the national Standards Body of India working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 which came into effect on 23 December 1986.
  • The Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department having administrative control of the BIS is the ex-officio President of the BIS.
  • The BIS Act, 1986 provides for the establishment of a Bureau for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for connected matters.
  • BIS has its Headquarters at New Delhi. 
  • The Vision of BIS is to be the leader in all matters concerning Standardization, Certification and Quality.
  • BIS thereby plays a very important role in the economic development of the country.
  • BIS also operates Certification Schemes that assure quality, safety and reliability to the users.
  • The BIS Product Certification Scheme is one of the largest in the world .
  • BIS gives utmost thrust for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest.
  • BIS has well laid down mechanisms and procedures to address public grievances related to consumer complaints against BIS services and ISI marked products.

Statutory Framework of BIS

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016, has been implemented since 12 October 2017.
  • The highlights of the new BIS Act are as follows;-
  • Allows multiple conformity assessment schemes in line with global practices.
  • Enables the Government to authorize any agency apart from BIS to certify and enforce conformity to a standard.
  • Enables the Government to include products under mandatory certification on grounds of health, safety, environment, national security and prevention of deceptive practices.
  • Enables the Government to bring Hallmarking of precious metal articles under mandatory certification.
  • Provides consumer protection measures like recall of non-conforming standard marked products, compensation to the consumer and more stringent penal provisions.

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India):

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is a legal entity established by the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.
  • Objectives:
    • Establishing scientifically sound food standards
    • To govern the production, storage, distribution, import, and sale of food.
    • To improve food safety.

FSSAI’s Role/Functions:

  • Development of regulations to establish standards/guidelines for food articles.
  • Establishing mechanisms/guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies involved in food safety management system certification.
  • Establishing a national information network to ensure that the public receives reliable and objective information about food safety and other issues of concern.
  • Help develop international technical standards for food, sanitary, and phytosanitary standards.

Composition:

  • The FSSAI is made up of a Chairperson and twenty-two members, one-third of whom must be women.
  • The FSSAI Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government
  • The Food Authority is assisted in setting standards by Scientific Committees and Panels, and in coordinating with enforcement agencies by the Central Advisory Committee.
  • Ministry Concerned: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

At the state level:

  • The FSSAI appoints state-level food safety authorities.
  • The State Food Safety Commissioners are primarily responsible for enforcement.

-Source: All India Radio


March 2024
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