The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
Chapter III General Principles of Food Safety
18. General principles to be followed in administration of Act. -
1. The Central Government, the State Governments, the Food Authority and other agencies, as the case may be, while implementing the provisions of this Act shall be guided by the following principles, namely :-
a. endeavour to achieve an appropriate level of protection of human life and health and the protection of consumers' interests, including fair practices in all kinds of food trade with reference to food safety standards and practices;
b. carry out risk management which shall include taking into account the results of risk assessment, and other factors which in the opinion of the Food Authority are relevant to the matter under consideration and where the conditions are relevant, in order to achieve the general objectives of regulations;
c. where in any specific circumstances, on the basis of assessment of available information, the possibility of harmful effects on health is identified but scientific uncertainty persists, provisional risk management measures necessary to ensure appropriate level of health protection may be adopted, pending further scientific information for a more comprehensive risk assessment;
d. the measures adopted on the basis of clause (c) shall be proportionate and no more restrictive of trade than is required to achieve appropriate level of health protection, regard being had to technical and economic feasibility and other factors regarded as reasonable and proper in the matter under consideration;
e. the measures adopted shall be reviewed within a reasonable period of time, depending on the nature of the risk to life or health being identified and the type of scientific information needed to clarify the scientific uncertainty and to conduct a more comprehensive risk assessment;
f. in cases where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a food may present a risk for human health, then, depending on the nature, seriousness and extent of that risk, the Food Authority and the Commissioner of Food Safety shall take appropriate steps to inform the general public of the nature of the risk to health, identifying to the fullest extent possible the food or type of food, the risk that it may present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk; and
g. where any food which fails to comply with food safety requirements is part of a batch, lot or consignment of food of the same class or description, it shall be presumed until the contrary is proved, that all of the food in that batch, lot or consignment fails to comply with those requirements.
2. The Food Authority shall, while framing regulations or specifying standards under this Act-
a. take into account-
i. prevalent practices and conditions in the country including agricultural practices and handling, storage and transport conditions; and
ii. international standards and practices, where international standards or practices exist or are in the process of being formulated, unless it is of opinion that taking into account of such prevalent practices and conditions or international standards or practices or any particular part thereof would not be an effective or appropriate means for securing the objectives of such regulations or where there is a scientific justification or where they would result in a different level of protection from the one determined as appropriate in the country;
b. determine food standards on the basis of risk analysis except where it is of opinion that such analysis is not appropriate to the circumstances or the nature of the case;
c. undertake risk assessment based on the available scientific evidence and in an independent, objective and transparent manner;
d. ensure that there is open and transparent public consultation, directly or through representative bodies including all levels of panchayats, during the preparation, evaluation and revision of regulations, except where it is of opinion that there is an urgency concerning food safety or public health to make or amend the regulations in which case such consultation may be dispensed with: Provided that such regulations shall be in force for not more than six months;
e. ensure protection of the interests of consumers and shall provide a basis for consumers to make informed choices in relation to the foods they consume;
f. ensure prevention of-
i. fraudulent, deceptive or unfair trade practices which may mislead or harm the consumer; and
ii. unsafe or contaminated or sub-standard food.
3. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any farmer or fisherman or farming operations or crops or livestock or aquaculture, and supplies used or produced in farming or products of crops produced by a farmer at farm level or a fisherman in his operations.