The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
16. Duties and functions of Food Authority. –
1. It shall be the duty of the Food Authority to regulate and monitor the manufacture, processing, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure safe and wholesome food.
2. Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), the Food Authority may by regulations specify-
a. the standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying an appropriate system for enforcing various standards notified under this Act;
b. the limits for use of food additives, crop contaminants, pesticide residues, residues of veterinary drugs, heavy metals, processing aids, myco-toxins, antibiotics and pharmacological active substances and irradiation of food;
c. the mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management systems for food businesses;
d. the procedure and the enforcement of quality control in relation to any article of food imported into India;
e. the procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories;
f. the method of sampling, analysis and exchange of information among enforcement authorities;
g. conduct survey of enforcement and administration of this Act in the country;
h. food labelling standards including claims on health, nutrition, special dietary uses and food category systems for foods; and
i. the manner in which and the procedure subject to which risk analysis, risk assessment, risk communication and risk management shall be undertaken.
3. The Food Authority shall also-
a. provide scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government and the State Governments in matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing on food safety and nutrition;
b. search, collect, collate, analyse and summarise relevant scientific and technical data particularly relating to-
i. food consumption and the exposure of individuals to risks related to the consumption of food;
ii. incidence and prevalence of biological risk;
iii. contaminants in food;
iv. residues of various contaminants;
v. identification of emerging risks; and
vi. introduction of rapid alert system;
c. promote, co-ordinate and issue guidelines for the development of risk assessment methodologies and monitor and conduct and forward messages on the health and nutritional risks of food to the Central Government, State Governments and Commissioners of Food Safety;
d. provide scientific and technical advice and assistance to the Central Government and the State Governments in implementation of crisis management procedures with regard to food safety and to draw up a general plan for crisis management and work in close co-operation with the crisis unit set up by the Central Government in this regard;
e. establish a system of network of organisations with the aim to facilitate a scientific co-operation framework by the co-ordination of activities, the exchange of information, the development and implementation of joint projects, the exchange of expertise and best practices in the fields within the Food Authority's responsibility;
f. provide scientific and technical assistance to the Central Government and the State Governments for improving co-operation with international organisations;
g. take all such steps to ensure that the public, consumers, interested parties and all levels of panchayats receive rapid, reliable, objective and comprehensive information through appropriate methods and means;
h. provide, whether within or outside their area, training programmes in food safety and standards for persons who are or intend to become involved in food businesses, whether as food business operators or employees or otherwise;
i. undertake any other task assigned to it by the Central Government to carry out the objects of this Act;
j. contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards;
k. contribute, where relevant and appropriate, to the development of agreement on recognition of the equivalence of specific food related measures;
l. promote co-ordination of work on food standards undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organisations;
m. promote consistency between international technical standards and domestic food standards while ensuring that the level of protection adopted in the country is not reduced; and
n. promote general awareness as to food safety and food standards.
4. The Food Authority shall make it public without undue delay-
a. the opinions of the Scientific Committee and the Scientific Panel immediately after adoption;
b. the annual declarations of interest made by members of the Food Authority, the Chief Executive Officer, members of the Advisory Committee and members of the Scientific Committee and Scientific Panel, as well as the declarations of interest if any, made in relation to items on the agendas of meetings;
c. the results of its scientific studies; and
d. the annual report of its activities.
5. The Food Authority may, from time to time give such directions, on matters relating to food safety and standards, to the Commissioner of Food Safety, who shall be bound by such directions while exercising his powers under this Act;
6. The Food Authority shall not disclose or cause to be disclosed to third parties confidential information that it receives for which confidential treatment has been requested and has been acceded, except for information which must be made public if circumstances so require, in order to protect public health.