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Fruit, veg vendors to be registered under Food Safety Act as per FDA drive

Friday, January 12, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Maharashtra has began a drive to register over one lakh vendors engaged in sale of fruit, vegetable, fish and eggs and a host of other comestibles, under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 (FSSA).

The drive will cover all those selling soft drinks and carbonated beverages like soda, lemon, caterers, canteens of school/colleges, ST canteens, wine and beer shops, ice cream parlours, bakeries, oil mills, sweet meet shops, clubs etc.

Those whose annual turnover is up to Rs 12 lakh per year will have to register themselves with FDA by paying annual registration fee of Rs 100 whereas those having annual turnover above Rs 12 lakh will have to obtain a license by paying Rs 2,000 fee annually.

The drive is expected to cover nearly one lakh vendors in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state this number will run into multiples, FDA Joint Commissioner Shailesh Adhav told The Afternoon D&C and added that those who fail to register themselves can face an imprisonment of six months and a fine of Rs 5 lakh. Besides, it is mandatory for wholesale suppliers/ distributors to supply food items only to the registered vendors. If they supply food items to the unregistered vendors, they also can be fined to the extent of Rs two lakh per offence, he added.

Section 63 of the FSSA stipulates:  'If any person or food business operator (except the persons exempted from licensing under sub-section (2) of section 31 of FSSA), who is required to obtain licence, manufactures, sells, stores or distributes or imports any article of food without licence, then he /she can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees.'

As per section 64 of FSSA, if any person, after having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under this Act, subsequently commits and is convicted of the same offence, he/she shall be liable face twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on the first conviction, subject to the maximum punishment stipulated for the same offence. Besides there could be a further fine on daily basis which may extend up to one lakh rupees, where the offence is a continuing one. Besides the vendor’s licenses can also be cancelled.

As per Section 65 of FSSA, if any person manufactures or distributes or sells or imports any article of food causing injury to the consumer or his death, he/she will have to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh in case of death, Rs 3 lakh in case of grievous injury and Rs 1 lakh in case other injuries.

Unsafe food pertains to an article of food whose nature, substance or quality is so affected as to render it injurious to health. The food which is composed of poisonous or deleterious substances, or the food article which consists of filthy, putrid, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal substance or vegetable substance. The Act covers food articles prepared using inferior or cheaper substances, colours etc.

As per FSSA no civil court will have jurisdiction to entertain any suit if any matter which an adjudicating officer or the tribunal is empowered to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken in pursuance of any power conferred under this Act.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), all offences not triable by a Special Court, shall be tried in a summary way by a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or by a Metropolitan Magistrate and the provisions of sections 262 to 265 (both inclusive) of the said Code shall, as far as may be, apply to such cases.

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