This article on “Food Laws in India: Laws Everyone Should Know in 2022” is written by an Intern at Legal Upanishad.
In India, the food industry is the largest industry. An increase in agriculture sector has played an important part in the growth of India’s economy since the country has a huge agricultural potential due to its geographical location. In recent years, India’s food and beverage industry experienced a major growth in mass production. Food and beverage production, processing, and distribution are all part of this industry. A significant part of the food chain is these activities, which enhance the significance of food laws in India. In the field of food laws in India, there are a number of rules and regulations and policies which are governing food distribution, production, and consumption.
Legislation aimed at protecting consumers and managing the food industry effectively is among the objectives of these laws. Therefore, it corroborates in safety of food process which can be considered as a principal facet for a prosperous and safe life. Food laws in India are based on the standards established by international organizations. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the primary body responsible for setting parameters of food to verify high standard.
Need of Food laws in India
The consumption of safe and healthy food can enhance human health and protect consumers from diseases. Maintaining food safety at every stage is crucial. Therefore, food should be maintained at a higher standard from production to consumption. There are two reasons for the implementation of Food Laws –
1) to control the specification of food and
2) to maintain a hygienic environment for food processing/manufacturing.
In Article 21 of the 1950 Constitution of India, each citizen has a right to get good health and hygiene food. If this right gets violated then it comes under the ambit of Article 21 and Article 47 of Indian Constitution  which majorly deals with food item which are not meant to be consume. Therefore, it is becoming the constitutional duty of the states to protect the right to have safe food in India and also to promulgate legislation regulating food strategies.
Legislations promulgated for Food Industry
Food Safety legislation came across through magnificent alterations so far. The one major role has been played by FSSAI in revolutionizing food hygiene parameters. The Supreme Court rendered it in a historic precedent in PUCL v. UOI and Anr. who responded the major question of “hunger in the midst of plenty”.
Therefore, in this regard a writ petition has been by PUCL on the dreadful issue to held the accountability of the deaths due to starvation despite of having of food in stocks. However, it emphasized the application of the “right to food” under the right to live life which is guaranteed by the fundamental rights of Constitution of India. Therefore, Supreme Court, in this case, has issued a guideline and directed a number of which ensures the access of food by everyone, thus upsetting the right to have hygiene food becomes an fundamental right.
The major food law in India is Food Safety & Standard Act, 2006 before that there were following act which were repealed and came below the ambit of FSSA,2006.
- The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
- The Fruit Products Order, 1955
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954)
- Any other order issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955)
- The Meat Food Products Order, 1973
- The Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
- The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992
- The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998.
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and National Food Security Act, 2013 entails together many laws dealing with food safety related matters in different departments like the Food Safety and Standards Rules (2011) and the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (2011-2019).
There are other provisions of law along with the FSS act, 2006
a) Legal Metrology Act, 2009:
The Act is promulgated enforced the parameters of weights and measures, and regularised the trade, measures and the other goods that are sold or distributed by weight, measure and count.
b) Indian Penal Code, 1860:
Sections 272 and 273 of the IPC comprises with food adulteration. This section states, “Whoever adulterates any article of food or drink, to make such article noxious as food or drink, intending to sell such article as food or drink, or knowing it to be likely that the same will be sold as food or drink, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
c) The Insecticides Act, 1968
The laws have been passed for regulation of the importation, transport, sale, distribution, manufacture, and insecticides usage and to prevent hazards to humans. This law was specifically passed to guarantee the safe, availability of quality and effective pesticides for the farmers.
d) The Environment Protection Act, 1986
The Act was enacted with the primary purpose of ensuring the enhancement of the surroundings majorly the environment. The law also apprehends the manufacture to use improper and disproportionate dangerous micro-organisms, cells and substances used to store the food.
Each country has the greatest responsibility for food security. The rules and regulation, policies and acts play an important role in the regulation of the food corporation. Therefore, it becomes the utmost responsibility of government to change these laws and amend these as per the dynamic changes occurring day by day in food corporations and safety standards in India. Notably also making some changes in the supply chain process to make it more effective to avoid any kind of scarcity and shortage in the market.
 The Constitution of India, art. 21
 The Constitution of India, art. 47
 The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act 45 of 1860), sec.272
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