The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
80. Defences which may or may not be allowed in prosecution under this Act. -
A. Defence relating to publication of advertisements-
1. In any proceeding for an offence under this Act in relation to the publication of an advertisement, it is a defence for a person to prove that the person carried on the business of publishing or arranging for the publication of advertisements and that the person published or arranged for the publication of the advertisement in question in the ordinary course of that business.
2. Clause (1) does not apply if the person-
a. should reasonably have known that the publication of the advertisement was an offence; or
b. had previously been informed in writing by the relevant authority that publication of such an advertisement would constitute an offence; or
c. is the food business operator or is otherwise engaged in the conduct of a food business for which the advertisements concerned were published.
B. Defence of due diligence-
1. In any proceedings for an offence, it is a defence if it is proved that the person took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence by such person or by another person under the person's control.
2. Without limiting the ways in which a person may satisfy the requirements of clause (1), a person satisfies those requirements if it is proved-
a. that the commission of the offence was due to-
i. an act or default of another person; or
ii. reliance on information supplied by another person; and
i. the person carried out all such checks of the food concerned as were reasonable in all the circumstances; or
ii. it was reasonable in all the circumstances to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied such food to the person; and
c. that the person did not import the food into the jurisdiction from another country; and
d. in the case of an offence involving the sale of food, that-
i. the person sold the food in the same condition as and when the person purchased it; or
ii. the person sold the food in a different condition to that in which the person purchased it, but that the difference did not result in any contravention of this Act or the rules and regulations made thereunder; and
e. that the person did not know and had no reason to suspect at the time of commission of the alleged offence that the person's act or omission would constitute an offence under the relevant section.
3. In sub-clause (a) of clause (2), another person does not include a person who was-
a. an employee or agent of the defendant; or(b) in the case of a defendant which is a company, a director, employee or agent of that company.
4. Without limiting the ways in which a person may satisfy the requirements of clause (1) and item (i) of sub-clause (b) of clause (2), a person may satisfy those requirements by proving that-
a. in the case of an offence relating to a food business for which a food safety programme is required to be prepared in accordance with the regulations, the person complied with a food safety programme for the food business that complies with the requirements of the regulations, or
b. in any other case, the person complied with a scheme (for example, a quality assurance programme or an industry code of practice) that was-
i. designed to manage food safety hazards and based on national or international standards, codes or guidelines designed for that purpose, and
ii. documented in some manner.
C. Defence of mistaken and reasonable belief not available-In any proceedings for an offence under the provisions of this Act, it is no defence that the defendant had a mistaken but reasonable belief as to the facts that constituted the offence.
D. Defence in respect of handling food-In proceedings for an offence under section 56, it is a defence if it is proved that the person caused the food to which the offence relates to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of immediately after the food was handled in the manner that was likely to render it unsafe.
E. Defences of significance of the nature, substance or quality of food- It shall be no defence in a prosecution for an offence pertaining to the sale of any unsafe or misbranded article of food to allege merely that the food business operator was ignorant of the nature, substance or quality of the food sold by him or that the purchaser having purchased any article for analysis was not prejudiced by the sale.